Modern oil and gas companies are currently operating in the world’s most sensitive environments; consider the impact of these conditions of the rapid development of environmental management policies of these companies.
|Programme: BSc. Oil and Gas Management Student ID: 33449 Student Name Henry Akinola Supervisor: Dr. Kenneth Aidelojie Date of presentation: 19/05/2015 Academic year of submission 2015 A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF UK ENVIRONMENT POLICIES ON BP OPERATION IN UK|
I would like to thank Almighty God for giving me strengths and will to complete this work.
Special thanks to my supervisor Dr. Kenneth Aidelojie for his encouragement, patient and support throughout my studies and the process of writing this project.
I would also like to thank Mr. and Dr. (Mrs.) Ogunboye for their direction, reliable assistance and impact to my studies. I would like to extend my honest gratitude to Mr. and Mrs. Falase for their immense support.
I am very grateful to my lecturers who have worked diligently to help me through the course. The lecturer has given me sincere advice all through.
In addition, I would also like to extend my appreciation to my children for their relentless help, support and contribution for my studies. My final thank goes to my beautiful, charming and promising wife, for her patience, perseverance and care. You are one in a million and truly amazing.
Am greatly indebted to you all.
UK is one of the countries that have shown commitment to conserving its environment. The UK environmental policies therefore, aim at regulating the activities of industries to conserve environment. The purpose of the study was to critically analyze the UK environmental policies on BP’s operations in UK. The fact that UK has stringent policies; many of the companies have tended to violate the same. BP is one of the companies in UK dealing in oil and gas exploration within UK. The company has experienced a number of environmental challenges relating to its operations ranging from accident spills, atmospheric emissions, water and chemical discharges affecting climate. The study therefore assesses and analyses the UK environmental policies, challenges and incidences and their impact on UK. The study used descriptive design specifically a case study focusing on BP. The method used in the study is secondary research as information was sourced from multiple sources to gain deeper insights into various aspects concerning environmental aspects in UK specific relating to BP operations. The results clearly captured varied findings relating to UK environmental policies and the state of BP operations. BP has done its best to comply with various policies such as EIA and other regulations. It has as well set its own precedence and commitment to preserve the environment. Even though BP has experienced some challenges, it has so far managed to do the best it can to change the situation. Nevertheless, it is important to reconsider some gaps in these policies to ensure consistency in their implementation to have greater positive impact on the environment. Government and all stakeholders need to work together to preserve the environment.
Figure 1: Smoke coming from burning oil- it contains chemical compounds that can cause respiratory diseases………………………………………………………………………………………..26
Figure 2: One of the BP tanker that consumes a lot of energy. The emissions from the tanker contribute to green gas effects…………………………………………………………………………..27
Figure 3: An illustration of some of the processes influencing the nature of contamination gradients around the offshore installations……………………………………………………………….28
Figure 4: A diagram showing oil with compounds burning and polluting water…………………29
Figure 5: A photo illustrating a Hercules spraying Corexit in the sea……………………………..31
Figure 6: A photograph indicating an oil spill in an ocean…………………………………………32
Figure 10: Showing the effects of oil spills on the ecology (living organisms)………………. …37
Table 4.1 Table illustrating initiatives that have improved due to courtesy of EIA………………46
AQMA- Air Quality Management Area
Bp- British Petroleum
CAA- Clean Air Act
CWA- Clean Water Act
CRC- Carbon Reduction Commitment
CSR- Corporate Social Responsibility
DECC- Department of Energy and Climate Change
EIA- Environmental Impact Assessment
EPCRA- Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-know Act
ES- Environmental Statement
OPEP- Office of Program Evaluation and Performance
OPEC- Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries
UKCS- United Kingdom Continental Shelf
UK- United Kingdom
UNFCC- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
UNESCO – United Nations educational Scientific and Cultural Organization
This section covers on the various areas aimed at meeting the goals of the research. It covers on the background of the study, statement of the problem, aims, objectives, research questions purpose of the research, the scope, study organization and definition of terms.
Environmental conservation efforts have intensified in the recent past due to continued and increased over exploitation of natural resources. The process of exploitation of these resources contributed to pollution of the environment. It is because of this that countries across the world have resolved to come up with policies and legislation to curb these trends. UK is one of the countries that have set stringent laws pertaining to environmental conservation. Gas and oil have been the most relied sources of energy in past decades regardless of their negative impacts on environment promoting formulation of these policies (Grossman, 2009).
These policies have made many of the modern companies dealing in gas and oil such as BP in UK to be highly sensitive to comply with the same (Goldenmbrg, 2012). Strict environmental management policies nowadays are inevitable if the future generations are to be safeguarded and protected (Holden, 2009). Large multinationals that fail to embrace these policies face dire consequences in case of emissions and leakages of gases and oils (Grossman, 2009; Goldenmbrg, 2012).
According to Goldenmbrg (2012) despite the sensitivity of the environment in which modern oil and gas companies operate as a result of the regionally and globally developed policies, environment management policies aimed at regulating this sector with specific emphasis on curbing all forms of environment pollution is inevitable. This is mainly because in theory, all companies that consume energy can take an initiative towards a perfect worldwide energy mix in future. However, each of these sources of energy has their inherent health, environmental, and economic costs, risks, and benefits (Grossman, 2009; Goldenmbrg, 2012). These factors are often in strong interactions with other global and governmental priorities, which obviously prompts choices to be made with an inevitable combination of an energy and environmental strategy mostly informing the environmental management policies to be developed (Falola and Genova, 2005).
Hence, the changes as well as patterns of energy use nowadays have already began to dictate the future trend of energy sources and uses in the future, and this point is supposed to be approached from the sustainability standpoint. Holden (2009) emphasize that the chance for achieving the goal for this trend can be attributed to sufficiently growing supply of alternatives of energy sources aimed at meeting human needs is essential while at the same time making sure that provisions of the existing policies are accommodated. In addition, energy conservation and efficiency measures are required to minimize wastage. Furthermore, appropriate methods of utilizing such sources of energy ought to be devised in order to protect the biosphere and prevent localization of sources of pollution no matter how minimal they may be.
The focus of the research is one BP Plc, one of the largest oil and gas companies operating across the globe. The focus is limited in the UK where the company headquarter is located in London. The primary operations of the company are exploration and production of gas and crude oil. The company as well markets and trades its products such as natural gas, power and natural gas liquids.
The world is at risk of experiencing changes in the environment because of human activities such as mining and extraction of oil and gases (Cover , 2009). This therefore calls for urgent measures through policy formulation to arrest the situation. According to Cover (2009), the rate of global warming if not effectively managed urgently, the world may be inhabitable in the near future due to significant increase in temperatures as well as rapid and drastic climate changes. This therefore means that efforts are required to avoid this situation. Because of less sources of energy, the solution is to formulate environmental management policies to manage the rate of these effects.
Claes (2000) notes that all these sources of energy remain useless until necessary technologies are devised to convert them into the needed energy services including powering of industrial or commercial machines/equipment as well as end-use equipment, such as motors, turbines, or stoves. However, inefficient design of these machines/equipment as well as running and operation of equipment used for their conversion into the required services in many countries across the world, results to significant wastage of considerable amounts of these sources of energy. Falola and Genova (2005) emphasize that despite this challenge the rate at which growth in awareness of energy efficiency and conservation among all stakeholders has been going on is encouraging.
The study elaborates and critically endeavors to provide scrutiny of environmental policies in UK that specifically bounds BP operations in UK. This study therefore provides insights on how these policies work, their benefits or disadvantage to the company and their impacts on the environment. The rate of environmental pollution has increased due to flouting of some of these rules.
- To determine how Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulation can relieve UK environmental challenges related to BP operations
- To determine the role of government and agencies in charge of overseeing the activities of BP’s operations with respect to EIA application and implementation
- To determine the impact of UK environment policy on BP’s oil and gas company
- To determine the impact of the environment policy on BP’s operations
- To determine measures taken by BP Oil Company to implement the environment policies
Research questions that form the basis of this study include:
- What are the measures being taken by BP oil and Gas Company to prevent environmental pollution?
- Is UK government biased against or incapable of addressing environmental issues?
- Is BP oil and gas industry following the right environmental practices as stated by the current law?
- Are the government agencies capable of conducting meaningful EIA?
This research focuses on the environmental policies of UK and how they affect BP operations in UK. Therefore, the research is restricted in the UK despite the fact that BP operates in other jurisdiction that have different environmental policies.
The research has various sections that deliberate on different issues that pertain to the topic. These sections are categorized in form of chapters. The first chapter is the introduction that sets the direction of the study. It covers on various sub sections such as background of the study, statements of the problem, purpose, scope, aims, objectives and research questions. The second section is the literature review that provides an overview and critical analyses of the various studies that relates to the topic. The third section is methodology that describes the method adopted to carry the study, fourth section is on the findings and discussions and the last section is the conclusion and recommendations.
This section is very important as it provides an overview of the related topics and studies already done. The section therefore provides an opportunity to understand the literature already existing hence providing a basis to pursue this study. The review relates to the objectives and research questions.
The UK government has a responsibility to ensure that it sets policies and procedures to minimize environmental effects. The government has a duty to protect and preserve the lives of both fauna and flora under threat due to activities of investors such as BP. Other organizations and bodies as well work closely with the government to ensure formulation of policies, proper application and their implementation.
As a measure to manage environment, UK has come up with various policies to control pollution of the environment. One of such policies is the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations that every company must follow. Before any company undertakes any project, it is mandatory to undergo EIA (Isah, 2012). The authority screen and establish the scope of the company ability to adhere to the laid down guidelines. These requirements originated from the European Directive requiring any developer to come up with an Environmental Statement (ES) describing the likely effects of the project to the environment and the likely mitigation strategy (Isah, 2012). ES is circulated to the statutory consultation bodies as well as to the public for their views and comments. The contents are scrutinized by the state of local planning authority before consent is given. Other acts and policies as well exist that aim to ensure environmental management.
The merchant shipping Act of 1995 proposes the increase in the responsiveness to environmental pollution and to enhance international cooperation to discourage environmental pollution (DECC, 2013). Under this policy, ships and any offshore installation ought to have oil emergency pollution plans. The regulations therefore give the government power to take action in case of any risk of pollution of the environment. The regulations are applicable to both chemical and oil spills. The other policy is the offshore Petroleum activities Regulation 2005. Under this act, it is illegal to discharge oil unlawfully. The act was later amended in 2011 in which intentional oil discharge is considered unlawful. The European commission passed a directive in 2009 that makes it illegal to ship source discharges of polluting substances. This is considered as a criminal offense especially when committed with intent (DECC, 2014). DECC provided pollution emergency pollution plans guidelines in 2012. Under these guidelines, there is clear procedure on how to get approval to use an oil-spill treatment product. DECC has therefore reconsidered the regulatory measures put in place concerning environment pollution regulation measures. According to DECC, OPEP is responsible for identifying the risk factors and how to address them in case of any emergency (Adams, 2003).
According to the International Convention on oil pollution, UK government approved the requirements for all the oil-drilling operators including BP. The operators are required to have an approved oil emergency plan for all the oil operations. The approval has to come from the National Competency Authority. Any oil spill that reaches the sea has to be reported. Other UK environment regulation policies include Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, Clean Air Act, Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act and Toxic Substances Control Act (World Bank, 2013). Resource conservation regulatory act controls how the company deals with wastes beginning from their generation to how they are disposed (Hendry & Juselius, 2000). The act is very specific on how the waste ought to be stored and treated in order not to cause environmental pollution.
The CAA controls all the sources of air pollution by remaining very strict on the amounts of pollutants released to the surrounding (World Bank, 2002). The CWA regulates the sources of water pollution through the limitation of the amounts of pollutants a company can release into the water. The EPCRA conditions all the companies that deal in hazardous substances to ensure that they inform the emergency response commission (World Wide Fund for Nature, 2009). For the remediation laws, the companies are required to develop comprehensive environmental response compensation and liability. This is enshrined in law. Programs exist to oversee the sites that produce hazardous substances to promote responsibility, as those responsible for any pollution remain responsible and compensate the affected persons (Yin, 2009).
CRC is the body that controls BP operations by ensuring that the company and others reports their energy utility and CO2 produced through their operation. Those that fail to meet the set regulations receive fines. The body also known as Energy Efficiency Scheme Order was formed in 2013 (CRC Order 2013). The body enacted under climate change act of 2008 aims at reducing pollution in UK by 2050.
Regulation of energy has been incorporated in the Scottish Government’s paper Economic and Competition Regulation in an Independent Scotland. The government has simplified the regulatory landscape to the one that is appropriate for the Scotland land size. This has brought together economic regulatory functions in the important sectors of energy. Following independence, this Government plans to simplify the regulatory landscape to one that is more appropriate for a country of Scotland’s size, bringing together economic regulatory. The Scottish regulator is mandated to ensure that there is continued enhancement of decarbonisation of all the energy that is being generated (Goldenmbrg, 2012, 34).
The environment Act 1995 which affects England, Scotland and Wales and (Northern Ireland) Order 2002, gives the local authorities the powers to review and to address all matters concerning air quality. The place that adheres to these regulations is declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA). The local authority then has to come up with ways to reduce or solve that problem (Anderson et al., 2006). Therefore, in the case the locations that companies such as BP operates fails to meet the threshold then EIA has the responsibility to close the operations.
The Scottish Government focuses on reducing the Scotland’s carbon emissions by 42% by the year 2020. The government is also committed to the wood review aimed at maximizing on the recovery of hydrocarbons from the North Sea (Bank of Scotland, 2013). The government suggests that the fossil fuels from the UKCS will be produced and transported to be destroyed in a different place (Scottish Parliament, 2014,3) The Scotland’s Future white paper entails more information about maximum utilization of renewable energy sources. The government is therefore committed to reducing emission of carbons into the air as this is in line with their world leading fight against climate change (Austin, 2007).
The Cancun Agreement of 2010 entitled the government with the mandate to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases generated by human beings. This is to ensure that the global world climate does not increase by 2 degrees (UNFCC, 2010). This matter was discussed in the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee inquiry into Green Finance. Based on their findings, it was concluded that, ‘Financial Policy Committee of the Bank of England should regularly consult with the Committee on Climate Change to help it monitor the risks to financial stability associated with a carbon bubble’ (House of Commons, 2014).
Scotland has the boundless offshore oil and gas reserves as well as a lot of reserves in the North Sea. The country has so much oil reserves in the EU. The country has a passion for a greener environment. The country is so rich in biodiversity. The government of Scotland respects the environment since it is the sole source of health and good economy. The government passed a world leading climate change policy to protect the environment in 2009. The country has set up the world’s first Climate Justice Fund (Hoovers, 2013).
Laws that regulate operations of oil companies in order to protect the environment have been developed immensely (Watts & Micheal, 2000). Such laws include Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, Clean Air Act, Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act and Toxic Substances Control Act (World Bank. 2013).
Resource conservation regulatory act controls how the company deals with wastes beginning from their generation to how they are disposed (Hendry & Juselius, 2000). The act is very specific on how waste ought to be stored and treated in order not to cause environmental pollution. The CAA controls all the sources of air pollution. This is through being very strict on the amounts of pollutants released to the surrounding (World Bank, 2002). The CWA regulates the sources of water pollution through the limitation of the amounts of pollutants a company can release into the water. The EPCRA conditions all the companies that deal in hazardous substances to ensure that they inform the emergency response commission (World Wide Fund for Nature, 2009, 20).
For the remediation laws, the companies are required to develop comprehensive environmental response compensation and liability as enshrined in law. Programs exist to oversee the sites that produce hazardous substances. This is to ensure that those responsible for any pollution are held responsible and compensate the affected persons (Yin, 2009).
The UK government is so committed in regulating environmental pollution by the oil and gas companies. The government has come up with the Climate Change Act 2008 and the Energy Act 2013. This shows the government’s commitment in regulating the pollution of the environment through release of carbon through the development of onshore and offshore wind power, solar power and biofuels. The development of alternative sources by the government put the BP at risk.
The European commission main aim is to centralize offshore health and safety and environmental protection in the entire Europe continent. The European commission believes that the North Sea countries are not safe. The new regulation aims at reducing by 50% blowout. Therefore, the need to protect the environment is driven by the European Union.
An act such as Ambient Air Quality Directive of 2008 puts limits on the outdoor emissions that affect health of the people directly. Unhealthy particles include (PM10 and PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The substances combine in the air forming ozone layer that contributes to global warming. The policy is therefore a substitute to all other existing policies pertaining to air quality. UK adopted the law under the major regulation dubbed Air Quality Standards Regulations of 2010 that includes the fourth air quality daughter directive. The policy provides the minimal amount of substances companies should emit in the air. Scotland applies this regulation as well. UNESCO Gothenburg Protocol is another energy regulation law that specifies the amount of SO2, NOX, and NH3that companies needs to emit in the air. This policy was among the UK laws as part of the National Emission Ceilings Regulations of 2002.
UK environmental policy cuts across all sectors of the Oil and Gas Sectors including BP. The company is expected to ensure that it obliges to the policies to be permitted to continue with its activities. Therefore, it is something that affects the entire operations of the company as well as its employees.
The UK government is so committed in regulating environmental pollution by the oil and gas companies. The government has come up with the Climate Change Act 2008 and the Energy Act 2013 (BP. Com. 2015). This shows the government’s commitment in regulating the pollution of the environment through release of carbon through the development of onshore and offshore wind power, solar power and biofuels. The development of alternative sources by the government put the BP at risks.
The policies ensure that companies remain ethical in their practice. Companies such as BP have adopted considerable changes in the way they carry out their operations. The government bodies to ensure that they remain consistent in abiding to the laws frequently assess them. This has contributed greatly to reduction in environmental degradation.
The company at some point is subjected to penalties and fines for bridging the laws. Cases of negligence and lack of professionals are some of the reasons that lead these companies into legal issues. Hence, the purpose of this is to ensure that these companies violate no policies.
Furthermore, is the duty of the company to ensure that all employees meet the qualifications and receive enough protection. They are required to wear protective gears when working to maintain their safety and healthy. Other services such as health insurance are provided to maintain their health and safety.
These environmental policies intention is to protect the safety of the environment and all the living creatures. The policies have some benefits as well as disadvantages on the operations of BP. To begin with, the advantages, the policies promote environmental conservation ensuring that the companies adhere to the ethical standards of protecting their environment. The policy therefore, allows the company to continue with its corporate social responsibility initiatives as it promotes the lives of the people and other living organisms (BP. Com. 2015). The company as well benefits from these policies, as it is able to uphold to professionalism and high standards of work something that influences their productivity and public image.
BP has embraced the concept of CSR both locally and globally. CSR allows an entity to monitor itself and ensure that it complies with the ethical standards, spirit of the law and international norms (Gee & Norton, 2013). The actions that BP engages in as part of its CSR are aimed at promoting social good and go beyond the firms’ interest. Therefore, BP has concentrated its actions on encouraging and taking actions that impacts positively on the lives of the community, environments and stakeholders such as the consumers, employees, investors, consumers and communities among others. The company ensures that its projects meet the threshold of the EIA body (Du & Vieira, 2012). They as well comply to various legal acts such as Clean Water Act that requires them to ensure that their activities do not interfere with water bodies. Some of the global initiatives of the company came after the Gulf of Mexico accident and was dubbed as corporate greening (Flammer, 2013).This was commitment of the company to promote environmental sustainability. It as well participates in CSR by employing the locals in the areas that it extracts oil and gases.
The disadvantages of these policies on the company is that they are sometimes complex and hence, it becomes difficult task for the company to meet all of them. Furthermore, many agencies in conjunction with the government have set their policies and this makes its complex and challenging to implement. It is sometimes costly for the company to implement the same because of these complexities.
The company has a strong belief that it can be a company with a difference all over the world. It tries as much as possible to be the best company in whichever region it operates. The company appreciates the fact that people around the globe require energy hence plans to provide it without causing environmental damage (BP. Com. 2015).
BP appreciates the fact that climate change is a real issue hence acts to prevent environmental pollution as much as possible. The BP environment policy appreciates the new laws being developed and the firm actions being proposed to maintain good environment. BP has done this through strict implementation of the environmental management system geared towards ensuring that each project and activities lies within the law. The company has also participated in ensuring that they incorporate good environmental practices into action. The BPs environmental strategy was changed in 2008, enhancing the company focus on the main issues affecting the environment and adhering to all the laws.
BP decided to walk out of the Global climate coalition in 1997. It admitted to the fact that global warming was a very serious problem that they wanted to deal with. The global climate coalition group totally opposed to the fact that global warming was a problem. According to John Sawhill, President of The Nature Conservancy, the move by BP to support environment protection was a great thing (World watch Institute 2000).
BP’ has decided to invest in solar power and green house reduction projects to enhance its move towards protecting the environment. In 1998, BP declared a target of 10% reduction in their green house gas emissions (Anon. 1998). This does not include the emissions generated from its products (Manuel 1999). In March 1999 BP started a program for the investment in solar energy and also the installation of solar equipment in over 200 petrol that companies like BP are on the cusp of providing that sort of leadership (Anderson et al., 2006).
The company has as well intensified its research and development in various aspects concerning explorations and management of the available resources (BP. Com. 2015). The company has adopted other measures such as investigating in the water management approaches by considering companies operations life cycle water demand and locater water resources. Furthermore, more models are developed to help predict consequences of oil spills on land (BP. Com. 2015). This is to ensure that such cases are controlled to avoid environmental effects. The company as well helps and support business to use on shore oil spill modeling tool to improve in their oil spill response planning. The company as well takes precautionary measures when working in environment that are sensitive. This is to minimize the effects on the environment. To reduce green house gas emissions the company has plans to reduce flaring and venting in their operations (BP. Com. 2015). The company as well has put in place measures that aim at managing air quality issues to avoid negative impacts on the local communities and the ecosystems at large
Since its inception, BP has encountered considerable challenges and incidences that have elicited uproar from members of the society. Environmental regulation bodies and government has as well come under criticism in connection with these challenges. These incidences are reminiscent in the companies’ upstream, midstream and even downstream operations. The upstream operations include exploration of oil and natural gas, field development and production. Midstream operations include transportation, storage and processing while downstream operations include manufacturing and marketing of its products.
In the process of exploration by BP, different emissions are emitted. The crude oil emits the PAH compound into the environment which is later broken down by the UV radiations. This endangers human beings leading to high rate of death. The product results into respiratory infections. The toxic hydrocarbons affect many through prevention of the normal biological process of the body like the protein synthesis. This leads to diseases like asthma. The hydrocarbons also interfere with the genetic integrity of organisms leading to carcinogenesis and mutagenesis. The volatile components therefore are responsible for the increased rate of asthma.
Volatile components of crude oil after a spill aggravate asthma, bronchitis and accelerate aging of the lungs (Kaladumo, 1996). Other possible health effects of oil spill can be extrapolated from rats exposed to contaminated sites and these include increased liver, kidney and spleen weights as well as lipid per-oxidation and protein oxidation (Anozie and Onwurah, 2001).
One of the incidences that relates to atmospheric emission by Bp was Exxon Valdez spill, the Gulf of Mexico and the Prudhoe. The hydrocarbons produced from oil compounds breakdown are released into the air hence causing environmental pollution (Anozie and Onwurah, 2001). Furthermore, people living in the vicinity of North Sea suffered from lung cancer and global warming. One way to avoid the emissions is to properly handle hydrocarbons before their release in the atmosphere.
Figure 1: Smoke coming from burning oil- it contains chemical compounds that can cause respiratory diseases (Source: Digital Vision, 2014)
Bp has diversified the sources of energy used in its operations. The company uses fuel gas and diesel to run its engines. The turbines are run in order to produce the energy needed for the drilling purposes. Water is injected into the system using engines that also consume power (Ashcroft, 2013, 11). Moreover, BP uses diesel to power the engines to generate the compressed gas. The compressed gas is very useful in pumping the oil onto the surface. Despite the fact that these processes are very vital in the process of oil drilling, they cause environmental pollution. The hydrocarbons are broken down to release CO2 and Methane (BBC,1998). The two gases are greenhouse gases hence cause environmental pollution through the depletion of the ozone layer. Furthermore, the nitrogen gases generated are very harmful to the soils. They interfere with the process of ion exchange in the soil leading to soil acidity hence poor growth of organisms (Ahsanullah,Negilski&Mobley,1981). Such incidences have happened in countries such as Nigeria and Egypt resulting to decreased agricultural produce.
Figure 2: One of the BP tanker that consumes a lot of energy. The emissions from the tanker contribute to green gas effects (Source: Digital Vision, 2014)
The process of drilling oil generates several waste products resulting to cuttings generated by the drilling bit and drilling mud. The drilling mud is composed of clay (bentanite) and the drilling weight materials (barite). There are the organic polymers and other compounds found within the liquid (Neff, 2005; Frost et al., 2006). During the process of drilling, these materials are discharged into the sea acting as a secondary pollution source to the organisms in the water. The hydrocarbons are processed in the water and biological decomposition by the bacteria.
The oil hydrocarbons are composed of so many hydrocarbons which include aliphatic saturated hydrocarbons, aliphatic unsaturated noncyclical hydrocarbons, saturated cyclic and polycyclic compounds, aromatic unsaturated cyclic compounds, unresolved mixtures.
PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and aromatic compounds, NPD (naphtalenes, phenanthrenes and dibenzothiophenes) and decalines (decahydronaphtalene) cause toxicity. Aliphatic hydrocarbons (petroleum THC) at high concentrations cause damage to ecosystems by physical/chemical alteration of sediments.
Figure 3: An illustration of some of the processes influencing the nature of contamination gradients around the offshore installations Source :(Rye et al., 2006)
The oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico commenced in 2010 leading to water pollution. Water discharged from the Gulf was harmful to humans and the living organisms in the water such as fish. Many fish and other animals as well as human beings died due to this incidence. Another incident is the Prudho Bay oil line. The oil leakage went for several days without anyone noticing hence releasing crude oil into waters. We also have the Exon valdex which is another oil spill incident (BP Oil report, 67-71). The incidents required very clear plans to prevent them from occurring. Despite the fact, BP had strategies on how to handle material waste; no stringent measures were in place to handle major spills. Another incidence was the Cuadrilla hydraulic fracturing where chemicals and waters are pumped into shale rock to extract gas. This was an exploration carried out in Lancashsire in Weeton in the year 2011 (Harvey, 2013). This fracturing posed a threat to water bodies as chemicals discharged to water bodies. The government carried out environmental impact assessments to ascertain the effects of the exploration even amidst protests from the members of the public that the project should not implemented.
Figure 4: A diagram showing oil with compounds burning and polluting water(Source: Digital Vision, 2014)
During drilling of hydrocarbons and processing, several chemicals are used which include: rig and turbine washes, pipe dopes used to lubricate drill pipe joints, hydraulic fluids used to control subsea valves, biocides, corrosion inhibitors, demulsifies, water-based and organic phase drilling fluids, cementing chemicals, work-over chemicals, stimulation chemicals, completion chemicals, water injection chemicals, water and gas tracers and jacking grease. The main chemicals that go into the water bodies are the drilling fluids. The drilling fluids are mainly used to lubricate the drill bit and to aid in the removal of the rock components. Therefore, most of the chemicals discharged into the water bodies are drilling fluids. The chemicals are also very essential in the maintenance of pipelines in order to ensure the pipeline is in good condition. Sometimes the chemicals are released into water bodies accidentally because of equipment failure or human error (Bakke et al., 2007). The chemicals affect the health of the people that use this water in the areas or localities of operations. One incidence of chemical discharge was the Cuadrilla hydraulic fracturing between 2006 and 2011 in Lancashsire. Government supported the exploration while public was against.
Figure 5: A photo illustrating a Hercules spraying Corexit in the sea (Source: Digital Vision, 2014)
BP supplies its petroleum products through pipeline that sometimes burst leading to oil spills. In addition, sometimes during the transportation of the petroleum products there is spillage. The oil spills contain very volatile organic components like the polyacyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), heavy metals, and dispersants. Exposure to these substances has an effect on human health. One example of an incidence is MV Braer oil spill in 1993 in the United Kingdom. The spill led to neurological, ocular, and respiratory symptoms to people. Other incidences are Sea Empress oil spill in 1996, Nakhodka oil spill in 1997, Erika oil spill in 1999, Prestige oil spill in 2002 and the Tasman Spirit oil spill in 2003 also had impact on human health in the UK (Bakke et al., 2007). Another accident that caused a spill was Torrey Canyon oil spill that occurred on March 18 1967. This was the worst oil spill as estimated 32 million gallons of crude oil spilled off the Scilly Islands. The coastline of Guernsey, UK, France and Spain were affected. The government responded immediately by bombing raids using Royal Air Force and Royal Navy aircraft (Axford & Davies, 2011).
An oil accident at Newfoundland November 10 1989 that involved Odyssey caused a spill of 3 million gallons of oil. The spill affected the environment and the organisms in the ecosystem. Another accident occurred on March 30 1980 in Norway when the floating hotel in the North Sea collapsed. 123 oil workers succumbed during this accident. Furthermore, in the North Sea off Scotland 166 workers died after an explosion and fire on Occidental Petroleum Piper Alpha rig that occurred on July 6 198. This accident saw 64 people survive and is one of the worst world offshore oil disaster. The spills cause problems to the aquatic animals in the water. There should be ways of ensuring that accidents and oil spillage do not find their ways into water bodies.
Figure 6: A photograph indicating an oil spill in an ocean(Source: Digital Vision, 2014)
The wastes generated by BP all in the category of solid waste, recovered waste and liquid waste. The solid wastes are composed of the oil-contaminated material like the sorbents, debris and personal protective equipment, as well as non-contaminated solids, like the materials required by the support operations. Oily water and liquid wastes are ferried through vacuum truck to the approved liquid disposal facilities. Many of the wastes come from the sorbent booms usually cleaned by the technology referred to as waste-to-fuel technology where saturated booms are recycled to generate energy. Another way through which BP handles waste is by oil spill cleanup technology. Through this technology, natural fiber booms and loose absorbents are used to absorb oil that is later composted translating into degradation of the hydrocarbons and resultant product used as a soil amendment (Rye et al., 2006, 34). This has been witnessed in UK and parts of Africa.
The climate change has led to the melting of frozen water in oceans. This leads to rising of water levels hence resulting into floods. Melting glaciers and polar ice sheets contribute to sea level rise. As the ice melts, it also darkens ocean waters, which absorbs more sunlight than ice, and thus heats the ocean more, triggering a cycle of melting and heating. In addition, the weather is constantly getting extreme. This has led to droughts and wildfires that are on the rise. Furthermore, this has led to the oceans becoming hotter hence resulting into acidity of the water bodies. This is simply because the oceans absorb up to 90% of the heat in the atmosphere.
Figure 8: The primary impact: Earth’s water systems thrown off balance (Source: Digital Vision, 2014)
Similarly, climate change results into destruction of the coral and shellfish. These organisms are very sensitive to the changes in the external environment. When the ocean becomes more acidic it prevents development of the algae due to imbalance in the levels of calcium in the water. The forests are also affected. Prolonged seasons lead to infestations of the forests by tree killing insects.
Figure 9: Shift in water patterns which alters natural habitats (Source: Digital Vision, 2014)
Besides affecting the water habitat, climate change greatly impacts agricultural activities. The farmers find it so hard to predict the weather hence cannot plan when to do the planning. This has resulted into food insecurity. In addition, the polluted weather affects human health. The smog in the atmosphere results into lung cancer. Furthermore, flooding affects the infrastructure hence poor transportation (Ashcroft, 2013, 11, 45). Emission of gases in the air during exploration by BP causes depletion of ozone layers hence contributing to effects of global warming.
The effect on the marine could be by direct toxicity or by physical smothering (Perry, 1980). The materials can also cause vast effect on vegetations. The natural ocean environment is exposed to pollution by crude oil through manmade oil spills or the natural seepage of oil from the sea flow. An oil spill is very harmful to the ecological system exposed to the oil spills. The spilled oil is taken up by Bacteria and later is incorporated into the food web. The sea otters are affected due to their inability to tolerate oil contamination (HMRC, 2013). A blowout of a well in the Ekofisk oil field in North Sea in April 1977 is an example of an incidence that affected the ecosystem. During this incident an estimated 81 million gallons leaked threatening the lives of various living organisms in the ecosystem.
The entire environment is composed of an elaborate food web. The food web has to be maintained for any survival of the organisms to occur. Without any animal in the ecosystem, the marine ecology is affected and the food web destabilized. When oil covers the feathers of birds, they lose the ability to control the internal temperature hence develop hypothermia thus lose the ability to fly due to poor buoyancy. The sea otters on the other hand are affected by oil spills because of the contamination of their coats hence become unable to regulate their normal body temperature. These animals are poor at recovering from any form of oil spill. The population of the microorganisms to decompose organic matter also affects the microorganisms. Aerobic respiration next to the surface affects the levels of oxygen hence decreases the levels of marine life in the sea (Anderson &Willis, 2003).
The oil affects the growth of plants and the soil fertility. Sterilize the soil hence prevent growth of the crops. The crude oil therefore interferes with the mineral and organic matter thus hindering exchange. The poor soil Ph is unfavorable to most organisms in the soil hence leads to their depletion. The hydrocarbons reduces growth, photosynthetic rate, stem height, density, and above ground biomass leading to death of the whole crop. The hydrocarbons in the sea form a surface slick made up of carious components. The components are mobile hence can flow in various directions (Carbon Tracker, 2013). The components move into the water bodies where there stay for longer time before being degraded by the microorganisms. The slick turns into viscous and forms water oil which leads to depletion of oxygen in the water. This is because of the change in the organic components into inorganic components and loss of biodiversity. The water oil contains anticoagulant substance that leads to the death of mammals. The oil is toxic to the aquatic animals due to the production of O2 via photosensitization (Babu, et al., 2002) whereby toxic PAH quinones are produced. This product interferes with the development of aquatic organisms.
Figure 10: Showing the effects of oil spills on the ecology (living organisms (Source: Digital Vision, 2014)
This chapter presents description of research method used to obtain and to process data to help critically analyze the UK environmental policies on BP operations in UK. The chapter has various sections including research, design, research approaches, research philosophies, research strategy and their justification, sampling procedures, limitations and ethics, validity and reliability of the study.
Research is a systematic process that a researcher is required to adhere. It is an inquiry with the aim to describe, predict, explain, and control observed phenomenon. Research as well includes inductive and deductive methods. Denzin & Lincoln (2005) on other hand defines research as process of gathering information and analyzing to gain deeper understanding of the phenomenon. The researcher thinks about the research and looks for appropriate evidence for substantiating.
Positivism is one of the research philosophy researchers adopt in their research. The philosophy originated from empirical traditions and scientific traditions. Creswell (2012) argues that positivism allows acquisition of knowledge from casual nature and uniform sciences also known as cause-effect relation. When a researcher adopts this philosophy, it is imperative to remain objective as mathematical formulas are adopted (Creswell 2012).
The second approach that researchers’ use in interpretivism which refers to the gathering of qualitative data by use of unstructured interviews as well as observations. In addition, this philosophy is important when it comes to analyzing opinions to help achieve research objectives (Creswell 2012). This philosophy is mostly adopted in management and business fields to help gain deeper understanding of the social world and opinions that help in society transformation (Creswell 2012).
The researcher used both positivism and interprevitism. Positivism enabled the researcher to gain deeper understanding about UK environmental policies on BP’s operations in UK from different sources of information. On the other hand, the motivation or the justification of using interprevitism is that it allows the researcher to provide personal viewpoints on the issues and results from the previous studies (Creswell 2012). According to Denzin & Lincoln (2005) researcher has the freedom to use suitable approaches or methods that best meets their purpose of their studies.
The two research approaches that researchers use include deductive and inductive approach. Deductive approach enables the researcher to move from a hypothesis or a theory to a conclusion (Denzin & Lincoln 2005). Existing theory is adopted in developing a testable hypothesis by use of a suitable research strategy. The approach is logic as it begins with a theory then to a hypothesis usually tested through observation (Creswell 2012).
Inductive approach, a researcher starts from observations then moves to abstract concepts (Creswell 2012). The researcher develops distinct generalization and afterwards clarifies the relationship as the study progresses. The theory is therefore developed at the end of the study a clear indication that this approach is a reverse of the deductive approach. The findings are only validated at the end of the study as theory evolves in the process of the study and not in the beginning of the study as indicated in this figure.
In the study, the researcher employed deductive approach. The researcher through deductive approach adopted or used the existing theories on UK environmental policies to reach a conclusion through analysis of the findings. The approach is appropriate in this kind of study that focused on the secondary data.
Research design is the method a researcher adopts in the study. Most researchers select the design that is suitable and appropriate to the nature of the study. Various research designs are available for the researcher to choose from such as correlation, case studies, experimental, meta-analysis and descriptive among many others. The researcher adopted descriptive strategy and specifically case study. Using this strategy and design was appropriate as it allowed generation of adequate information that provides deeper insights in the UK environmental policies and their impacts on BP operations in UK.
Researchers have an option to adapt to a qualitative, quantitative or mixed method in their studies depending on the nature of the study. Qualitative method is essential in gaining understanding of views as it provides its information in a descriptive manner. The researcher as well captures the opinions and views of individuals through field notes, interviews and observation among other. The method however is criticized on grounds of lacking generalizability (Creswell 2012).
This method is usually based on methodological positivism, as it requires that the researcher sticks to specific research standard design designed before study commences. The methods as well utilize various statistical devices as the study findings are in form of numerical. Using this method requires the researcher to use large sample size for easier analysis and generalization (Creswell 2012). This method is helpful when surveying questions that pertain to numbers and percentage (Denzin & Lincoln 2005).
Various questions relating to where, how, what, and how among other are asked. Some of the questions are open-ended while others are closed ended. Qualitative study is more preferred in certain situations especially when the researcher wants to have an in-depth observation on the factors that lead to certain behaviors among phenomena (Creswell 2012).
The method the researcher adopted in the study was qualitative because of the nature of the study. This is secondary research where the researcher used various sources of information to meet the objective of the study. This method does not require use of statistical methods and information is presented in a descriptive manner enhancing easier understanding.
Researchers use various methods to collect data for analysis and interpretation. One of the methods they use is primary which involves collection of raw data from the field. Researcher use various techniques such as observations, semi structured questionnaires, use of focus groups, interviews among others. Collection of primary data is time consuming and is a tedious process as well. The researcher uses this data to gain more insights on various phenomena under the area of study (Creswell 2012).
Secondary data is another data researchers usually use in their studies. This kind of data is readily available from the various sources. The data exists in various forms such as magazines books, recordings, journals, and internet sources. When using secondary data, it is usually advised to be cautious to use credible and authoritative sources. The benefits of using this form of data is that it is less costly and takes considerably short period of time compared with primary data (Denzin & Lincoln 2005).
In this study, the researcher used secondary data to meet the objectives of the study. This was guided by the nature of the study, as there is considerable information about UK environmental policies and BP operations in UK. Furthermore, use of secondary data was appropriate due to time constrictions. It would take considerable amount of time to conduct the study using primary data. In addition, secondary sources allowed the researcher to review various works already done hence improved the scope of understanding of the topic. It as well enabled the researcher to identify the gaps in the already literature for future studies and reviews. The secondary sources were appropriate because are readily available and are less costly.
The researcher reviewed many sources of information from multiple databases and sources before selecting on the most appropriate one. The researcher did this because was aware that not all sources of data were relevant and appropriate for the study. The sample selection was therefore informed by the credibility of the source and the availability of the sources. Most of the sources incorporated were books and were peer reviewed published by recognized publishers.
According to Creswell (2012), reliability is the level of accuracy of the research findings. Bowling (2009), on other hand, views reliability as consistent, dependable over time and groups of respondents. The research should be detailed and consistence under same circumstances. Sample selected should be representative for the results to be reliable (Ali & Yusof 2011).
Validity is also important in such studies. According to McBurney and White (2007) validity as an indicator of accuracy in terms of the extent to which a research conclusion corresponds with the reality. Content Validity refers to the extent to which an instrument represents the factors under study (Denzin & Lincoln 2005: Drost 2011).
Validity refers to observing and measuring intended matters and objects at the commencement of the study (Denzin & Lincoln 2005). For the researcher to inspect the right facts, it is important to have accurate objectives. The variables and concepts requiring measuring should as well be defined. Validity in other words is removing any systematic errors from the study, planning, and gathering information as previously planned (Drost 2011).
Frechtling & Boot (2012) contends that any study that involves humans need to consider ethical issues. Some of the ethical considerations include privacy, autonomy, informed consent and self-determination. In the study, the researcher remained ethical from the beginning to the conclusion of the study. The researcher, acknowledge all information sourced through in-text citation and providing a reference list.
Researchers experience different limitations when carrying out their studies. Researcher has the capacity to control some of these limitations while cannot control others. Researcher should be in a position to manage any controllable limitations or errors to improve on reliability and credibility of the study. Some of these limitations deter achievement of the study objectives and hence, must be avoided through continued monitoring to reduce error margins. In this study, the challenge faced was reviewing of secondary sources because they were considerable many.
This section provides the findings of the study in respect to the various studies conducted. The results are consistent with the objectives of the study. Different researchers generated different findings relating to the UK environmental policies on BP operations in UK.
UK environmental policies have powers to ensure that industries and companies regulate their level of environmental pollution. Environmental Impact Assessment is carried out to help identify the threats of any activities from a company. Studies indicate that BP always carried out environmental impact assessment on the sites they worked. With the EIA, there has been a considerable improvement in the environmental conservations in UK. Public involvement in EIA processes has played a critical role in the efforts to conserve the environment in UK as these policies are enforced to the later.
A number of policies have been put in place pertaining to environmental management. Legal Requirement (CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme), Local Air Quality Management, Scottish Environmental Policies, Energy Regulation and Proposed EU Regulation of Offshore Safety. Majority of studies indicate that policies are working. Many felt that they have seen improvement in the way the company caries on its activities. It responds to emergency quickly and it has been charged for the mistakes it has done. The government has adequate machinery and capability to ensure that activities of BP are regulated.
Table 4.1 Table illustrating initiatives that have improved due to courtesy of EIA
|Involvement of public in EIA processes|
|In depth knowledge and understanding of oil industry|
|Improved decision making and planning|
|Protection of sensitive/designated areas and rare species|
|Environmental management improvement|
|Communication between oil industry and external agencies/host communities has improved|
|Increased credibility and responsibility among industry players|
|Reduce conflict between host communities and oil industry|
Source: Goldenmbrg (2012).
The UK environmental policy has greatly impacted on BP oil and Gas Company (Goldenmbrg, 2012). The company is now obliged to adhere to the rules and regulations as stipulated. EIA has been on the fore in ensuring that all industries such as BP abide by the laws relating to environmental conservation. Any organization that violates this regulation is usually penalized and even risks revocation of their licenses. The company has initiated a number of activities such as ensuring that there is EIA process on all its projects. It also ensures that environmental concern of the people or community is put into consideration (Goldenmbrg, 2012).
Community and stakeholders on various occasions have complained and even staged demonstration due to operation of BP in their locality. The community members stage these demonstrations because of perceived environmental and health impacts on their life.
Anderson et al., (2006), indicates that BP has its own environmental policies that they ensure they comply with. The fact that BP has these policies it means that it is also committed to promoting environment despite the fact that it seeks to accrue more profits. Its commitment has contributed to reduction of incidences and complaints by the stakeholders.
Some of the measures that BP has taken to implement the policies are by leading by example. The organization has as well entered into agreement and respect the legislations set that pertains to issues of environmental management (Anderson et al., 2006). The company respects laws such as Clean Water Act when exploring oil and gases in various locations.
BP has done its best to implement environmental policies. One of the initiatives of the company was to comply and to work together with the EIA to ensure that, it participates in environmental regulation. It has as well taken initiatives to ensure that it also implements already existing regulations and policies that concerns with environmental management (Adams, 2003).
The company therefore ensures implementation of EIA in all its areas of operations to give them the go ahead before beginning their operations. This has as well contributed to the companies to see the threshold set by the government.
BP has as well devised different ways on how they deal with various environmental challenges. Adams (2003) acknowledged that BP has dealt with these challenges fairly well.
The company has experienced a number of accident incidences in UK (Yin, 2009). However, the company has been managing these incidences well hence reduction in their occurrence. The company has tried to manage these incidences through ensuring that they respond to them quickly. They have as well ensured that tankers and pipelines meet the required standards. Monitoring of the tankers and facilities has also intensified hence reducing these incidences.
This chapter provides elaborate discussions of results. The chapter therefore provides an insight to the UK environmental issue impacting on the BP operations in UK.
The Bp oil company acknowledges the impact of political context in the choice of political actions by local environmental groups in the UK. Studies pointed out those political, social and environmental concerns are core to the discontent and confusion in the company (Ukeje, 2001: Austin, 2007). Political interpretation of the issues and response of the state and oil companies undeniably give conspicuous image of denial of legitimate access. It seems that political and economic considerations have influenced decisions by the government when it comes to enforcement of environmental policy such as putting an end to environmental pollution by Bp Oil Company.
UK has number of environmental policies that companies such as BP are obliged to adhere to. Every company is expected to undertake an EIA before permission is granted to explore any oil and gas sites. There are other laws such as Merchant Shipping Act of 1995 that has improved the rate of responsiveness to environmental pollution to enhance international cooperation to discourage environmental pollution (DECC, 2013). Other initiatives to help regulation of environmental impacts include Proposed EU Regulation of Offshore Safety, Energy Regulation, Scottish Environmental Policies, Local Air Quality Management and Legal Requirement (CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme) among many others. These regulations have gone extra miles to help mitigate environmental pollution.
In general, environmental management has improved over the years due to cooperation with government and other stakeholders. Public involvement in the process in EIA has as well contributed to improvement in management of the environment.
Results indicate that the UK environmental policy has had positive impact on the operation of Bp oil and Gas Company. The company has managed to monitor its activities to comply with these legislations hence improving its commitment to safeguarding the environment (Hendry & Juselius, 2000). The results furthermore, support the relationship between UK environmental policies and employee performance, and an emerging stream of research has began to call for empirical work on more proximal relationship in environmental policies on oil and gas companies (Becker and Gerhart, 1996). The findings further concur with the findings of Huselid (1995) in study of almost 1000 firms where he found out that environmental policies had a direct impact on the company performance. The company has managed to enhance its image because of its participation in environmental conservation initiatives (Huselid, 1995). Wright et al (2005) contended that environmental policies is known as central business concern that shapes the behavior, attitudes and performance of a company
BP is one of the companies that have to abide and comply with the UK environmental policies (Hendry & Juselius, 2000). The laws and regulations laid down in the UK are abiding to the company. The company is as well committed to protect the environment and the community that surrounds their sites. The exploration that mostly happens offshore or onshore, puts the company at risks of polluting air and waters through oil leakages (BP. Com. 2015). The company has set up standards that it also endeavors to meet when exploring oil and gas. The company puts into consideration the safety of its employees as well as the community. Other measure the company has put in place is to ensure that they design their equipment in a manner to reduce instances of leakages.
Oil companies complain that compelling them to end environmental pollution in the country will amount to great economic loss, due to the consequent closure of 117 out of 139 oil fields in which gas is still flared to date. In the perception of local environmental groups, this argument is frivolous and ridiculous and contradicts widely held views since the industry is still lucrative (National Point, 2008).
Many cases of oil spills are attributable to criminal pipeline vandalisation by youths involved in oil theft. Still, the failure to replace these oil pipelines across UK have contributed extensively to leakages and general oil spills. Their non-replacement renders them vulnerable to vandalisation by the oil thieves. Regardless of these challenges, BP is one of the oil and gas companies that have resolved to implement environmental policies in UK to concern its environment (Giulietti, Price, & Waterson, 2005).
BP allows various agencies to take part in its EIA a process to ensure that it complies with environmental conservation initiatives (Giulietti, Price, & Waterson, 2005). The company has as well put in place measures that will enable it respond quickly to emergencies such as leakages. These initiatives have so far contributed in the conservation of environment in UK.
BP is faced with various environmental challenges that have affected its operations in different ways. These challenges have faced the company for many years since its formation because of the nature of activities it does. Exploring oil and gas onshore and offshore presents a number of challenges to the environment. Some of the environmental challenges that the company has faced relates to ecological impacts, climate change, water and chemical discharge, generation and disposal of waste, energy use and atmospheric emissions. Nevertheless, the company has managed to handle these challenges amicably hence reducing their impacts on the environment. Centralization of law enforcement mechanisms has contributed to easy implementation and adherence to these set standards (Omeje, 2004).
UK environmental policies have promoted reduction in environmental pollution. The government oversees the whole process and ensures that companies adhere to the law through passage of very strict policies (Giulietti, Price, & Waterson, 2005). UK environmental policies such as EIA have contributed to improvement in environmental management in UK. The company must undergo an EIA before being granted the go ahead to explore gas or oil. The assessment ensures that the exploration is secure and has minimal impact to the environment (Claes, 2000). There are other laws such as Proposed EU Regulation of Offshore Safety that has enabled it to adapt to suitable methods of exploring oil and gas. Strategic Human Resource Scholars have argued that through appropriate environmental policies organization can influence behaviors and build social capital as potential source of competitive advantage (Collins and Smith, 2006; Evan and Davis 2005; Khan et al., 2011; Sani, 2012). The study provides support to the growing body of knowledge and research that attest to the importance of integration of environmental policies (Guest, 1997: Singh, 2004). The study also does hold implication for future research on environmental policies on Oil companies.
UK environment policy has impacted on BP oil and Gas Company over the years. The policies have compelled BP to implement these regulations to comply with the laws. Even though this has affected the company in some other ways, it has contributed greatly to enhancing its services. The company has managed to provide conducive working conditions to its employees (Matlay et al. 1999: Reserreccion, 2011; Kehoe and Wright (2013). It has as well supported the community enabling it earn a positive image. Conflicts and resistance from the communities has also decreased over the years. The company participation in CSR through initiatives to conserve environment has gone extra mile in enhancing the reputation of the company.
BP environmental policies have as well enabled it to adopt measures that promote environmental sustainability. The companies own initiatives to conserve environment are very key to meeting the UK environmental policies.
BP has taken different measures to implement environmental policies. It has ensured that it carries out EIA before commencing exploration of oil and gas. It also welcomes the views of the community and other stakeholders something that has enabled it effectively implement these policies.
This initiatives has enabled BP to successful manage a number of environmental challenges that affect its operations. Even though the company experienced a number of accidents over the years, it has managed to record improvement in its initiatives to manage environment. Leakages have reduced an indication of improvement in its management of environment.
Even though, environmental policies are healthy in terms of protecting the environmental, the government ought to pass laws that favor both the environment and the oil and gas companies. Strict laws that favor a certain group of the society are very detrimental to the investors in the oil sectors hence lead to collapse of businesses.
Despite the fact that the study provides insights about environmental policies, there are number of ways in which it can be improved and advanced from a methodological and theoretical perspective (Bollen Vergauwen, and Schnieders, 2005).
Further studies should focus on the gaps and grey areas in the UK environmental policies to determine how they impact on the efforts to conserve the environment.
6.3 Reflection Report of my Degree Course in Oil and Gas Management at Coventry
This reflection comprises of my academic experience, knowledge developed and lessons learnt in the past two years and eight month at Coventry University. At the beginning of my foundation degree programme, I was faced with a lot of challenges, as I have not being in full time education for three decades. All things being equal, I have learnt and developed new skills in oral presentation, academic writing and advanced critical writing. This has enabled me to gain the knowledge on how to critically analyze an argument and formed my own opinion. I will use (SWOT) analysis method to evaluate the strength, weakness, opportunity and threats during the course of my study. I have the strength to co-ordinate a group as a team. I am able to influence people to achieve desired outcome by setting an example as a leader. I am a creative person and a good listener. I do not quit until I get a task done. My only weakness is that, I lose patience sometimes when I am not in a position to complete an assignment on time. The conducive environment and opportunities at Coventry library make it easier for me to learn and borrow books for two weeks and with the opportunity to prolong it throughout the module’s semester rather than buy expensive books. The potential of skillful lecturers with modern teaching classroom equipment and hand-out make learning at ease which reflects on my academic performance. The availability of WI-FI at Coventry enables my in-depth research during my coursework. The threats to my studies was that raising a young family that demand a lot of time caused me to have low attendance and less study time. To wake up early in the morning for lecture is very inconvenient. The distance from my house to campus is another hectic problem with either train or bus. The likely future threat is the two years minimum working experience in the field.
The study of environmental management for sustainable development had broadened my knowledge. The life cycle assessment (LCA) of environmental management has enhanced my understanding in identifying the different impacts that oil and gas exploration have on the environment. In the light of this, I have gained a lot of positive insight with regard to corporate social responsibility of oil and gas companies and the need for them to consider implementing different options in addressing the issue of environmental pollution.
The study of innovation and risk management has enhanced my understanding of a new product, product development process, market development strategy, human resources plan, environmental issue and risk management. The stage-gate process of new product development process by Dr. Robert G Cooper was well understood. I also understand that risk taking is part of business. If you are not prepared to take a risk, you cannot succeed. I have learnt and understand that the fear of failure is among the reason why some business does not want to innovate.
During the study of e-commerce and marketing, I learnt how market segmentation enable a business to better target it products at the right customers. It is all about identifying the specific needs and wants of customer groups and using those insights to providing products and services which meet customer needs. I also learnt about how you can engage your audience on social media. The legal aspect of oil and gas industry has enhanced my knowledge in the macro environment of the industry: Such as the political, economic, socio-cultural, technological, and legal issues. Likewise, the microenvironment of the industry such as: the exploration, drilling, transportation, refining and the forecourt activities. I also learnt about the bargaining power between the National oil company (NOC’s) and the International oil company (IOC’s). How the power shift from (IOC’s) to the Host Country when natural resources are discover. I also learnt about the type of contractual system use in term of the concession or license agreement, a joint venture, production sharing contract (PSC) or service agreement between the host countries and the (IOC’s). I also learnt about the roles of Organization of petroleum exporting country (OPEC) and how they are fixing oil prices, control oil demand and supply, and stabilize the market.
During the study of project management, I learnt that a project is a planned set of interrelated tasks to be executed over a fixed period and within certain cost and other limitations. I also learnt about a project lifecycle as follows: Feasibility phase, Design and Development phase, Execution phase, Commissioning and Handover phase. I also learnt that time; cost and quality are the three constraint of a project. The dissertation project has provided me an awesome experience in research. It has widened my scope of knowledge in the research. Furthermore, I have gained more insights on aspects of environmental issues in UK as well as BP operations in embracing environmental policies. I also learnt about five porter’s forces model which business can use to determine how strong his position in the market.
Obtaining a degree qualification in oil and gas management will improve my job prospect in extractive industry or further to master qualification in extractive industry, the environment and sustainability which I intend to build my career and enhanced my employability.
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