Intertek Energy & Water has been appointed by the UK’s Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) to perform a study potential impacts associated with rock dumping at the time of oil and gas infrastructure decommissioning on mobile sandbanks.
The study’s focus will be on the North Sea’s North Norfolk and Saturn Reef Candidate Special Area of Conservation (cSAC) and Site of Community Importance (SCI).
These areas include a series of ten main sandbanks and associated fragmented smaller banks that were formed due to tidal processes, as well as biogenic reefs.
Intertek Energy & Water environment head Beth Monkman said: “Intertek is delighted to conduct this important study for JNCC to assist industry, regulators and Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies in the decision-making process related to impact assessment of offshore decommissioning operations."
As part of the study, typical sediment profiles and characteristics associated with oil and gas rock dumping operations will be compared with those within North Norfolk and Saturn Reef cSAC/ SCI.
Furthermore, the potential physical impacts that rock dumping, associated with oil and gas decommissioning, to have on mobile sandbanks and their biological communities would be evaluated based on their size and natural variability.
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JNCC Offshore Industries Advice head Karen Hall said: “JNCC are pleased to select Intertek to complete this important study and we look forward to working with them on this project.”
The study is also aimed at improving the understanding of how decommissioning operations can affect these features. This will help ensure that these protected sites reach favourable condition and are able to increase their contribution to the marine protected area network.