Discharge of oil and chemicals into the sea from offshore activities is in Denmark regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Danish production of oil and gas is important for the Danish national economy and energy supply. But at the same time it is important for the protection of the marine environment and for the air quality that the production takes place without harmful environmental impacts.
The main environmental regulatory framework for the offshore industry is the Act on Protection of the Marine Environment (in Danish).
Environmental action plans and situation reports
The Danish Environmental Protection Agency has, since 2005, in cooperation with the Danish Offshore Operators, developed offshore action plans for the protection of the marine environment in the Danish part of the North Sea. According to the plans the impacts on the environment from the offshore activities should be within the limits that are set through both national and international regulation.
The action plans has primarily focussed on a reduction of the discharge of the most environmentally harmful substances, on the reduction of the discharge of oil in produced water and on the introduction of annual environmental performance reports form the operators.
The results of the Danish offshore efforts are followed continuously and each year compiled in an offshore status report. The Minister of the Environment forwards this reports to the Standing Committee for Environment and Planning of the Danish Parliament.
Download status report for the Danish offshore action plans until 2010 (in Danish) (PDF, 705KB)
Permits for discharge of offshore chemicals and oil in produced water
According to the Act on Protection of the Marine Environment and the Statutory Order on Discharge of Substances and Materials to the Sea from Certain Facilities at Sea (both in Danish), it is obligatory for the offshore operators to apply for permits for the use and discharge of offshore chemicals and for oil in produced water to the sea.
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These are needed in connection with issuing of permits.
Oil and chemical spill contingency plans
According to the Statutory Order on Preparedness in case of Pollution from Certain Facilities at Sea (in Danish), the Danish Offshore Operators are responsible for the development of Oil and Chemical Spill Contingency Plans (OCSCP). The plans describe the organisational set-up and the actions taken in connection with spills of oil and chemicals reaching the sea from offshore installations.
Through the OCSCP, it is ensured that the operators have adequate equipment and personnel to combat and if relevant recover the spills and that the actions are mobilized within a set time frame after a spill has been detected. The Danish Environmental Protection Agency approves the OCSCPs that are regularly updated.
International cooperation on marine environment
Through the Convention for the Protection of the marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic, a framework is established for the protection of the marine environment and the biodiversity in the North-East Atlantic Ocean.
The work is governed by recommendations and legally binding decisions taken by the OSPAR Commission. The convention comprises the following countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Spain and United Kingdom.
Denmark implements relevant OSPAR recommendations and decisions through national initiatives and legislation, such as national action plans for water and nature and strategies for the marine environment.
Further information on the OSPAR Commission can be found at www.ospar.org