Norwegian oil industry emissions up in 1999

Overall pollution rises as offshore oil installations age, but most toxic emissions down

As Norway's offshore oil installations have aged, quantities of produced water carrying oil into the marine environment along the continental shelf have risen steadily, according to this year's annual report on pollution by the sector. However, the report, by the state pollution control agency (SFT), also finds that there has been "a clear decline in marine discharges of the most eco-toxic chemicals".

Last year, the offshore industry generated almost 99m tonnes of produced water containing 2,467 tonnes of oil, as against 91m and 2,111 tonnes respectively in 1998. But 1999 was also the first year that no releases of endocrine disrupting chemical compounds were reported.

Overall, the use and release of chemicals at sea were "relatively stable" year-on-year; atmospheric emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds were "about the same", while emissions of sulphur dioxide declined somewhat.

"Acute" or accidental releases in 1999 accounted for 171 cubic metres of oil (another symptom of ageing), 624 cubic metres of chemicals, and 18,991 kilograms of heavy metals (mostly zinc, plus mercury, lead and chromium).

The UK offshore oil industry makes a similar annual environmental report. Its most recent figures were released last month (ENDS Daily 6 November).

Follow Up:
SFT, tel: +47 22 57 36 16, and Emissions on the Norwegian continental shelf 1999.

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