Report: Effects of oil and gas production on marine ecosystems and fish stocks in the Danish North Sea

Published 07-07-2021

An investigation of the potential environmental impacts from the Danish oil- and gas production has been initiated, with the aim to map the existing knowledge and conclude whether there is a need for further knowledge

The report ”Effects of oil and gas production on marine ecosystems and fish stocks in the Danish North Sea” is the result of a literature review of the potential environmental impacts from the Danish oil and gas production on the marine environment in the North Sea, with a focus on ecosystems and fish stocks. The review focuses solely on impacts from the Danish oil and gas production and includes the different stages of the oil and gas production, namely exploration, installation, operation and decommissioning.

The report concludes that the most important environmental impacts from the Danish oil and gas productions stem from discharge of produced water (water from the wells which is produced during the oil and gas production and contains chemicals and oil residues), emissions to the atmosphere from flaring with a subsequent deposition to the marine environment, in addition to generation of underwater noise. It is emphasized, though, that it is not possible to quantify these impacts due to a lack of knowledge of specific impacts from various aspects.

Possible impacts on fish stocks in areas with different intensities of discharged produced water have been investigated by a mathematical model. This analysis showed no negative impact from the oil and gas production on the fish stocks.

In addition, the report has performed an analysis of the cumulative impacts of various anthropogenic activities. The results indicate that the biggest impacts on the marine environment in the North Sea are due to (1) commercial fishing activities, (2) discharge of nutrients and (3) pollution with environmentally harmful substances. The first two activities are not related to the oil and gas production, while there will be a contribution to the pollution with the environmentally harmful substances from the oil and gas production. It is, however, not possible to quantify the contribution from the activities from oil and gas production.

Report: ”Effects of oil and gas production on marine ecosystems and fish stocks in the Danish North Sea”