Marine discharge consent granted to OMV GSB
17 September 2019
An application by OMV GSB Limited for a notified marine discharge consent in the Great South Basin, offshore Otago, has been granted with conditions.
The consent was granted by a Decision-making Committee appointed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), which held a hearing in Dunedin over three days between 30 July and 1 August 2019.
Oil and gas company OMV GSB Ltd sought permission to discharge trace amounts of harmful substances (up to 250ml per event) from the deck drains of a Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit. This is associated with OMV’s Exploration and Appraisal Drilling (EAD) programme within its exploration permit PEP 50119.
OMV GSB Ltd noted that should any trace amounts of harmful substances make it into the deck drainage system following spill clean-up procedures, they would be diluted in the settling tank. Upon discharge to the marine environment, the harmful substance would be further diluted, to the extent that any ecotoxic effects on the marine environment would be negligible.
Overall the committee found that potential adverse effects on the environment would be negligible. Despite this, OMV GSB Ltd must comply with a number of conditions, which have been designed to avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse effects of any discharge of harmful substances, including:
- OMV GSB Ltd shall ensure that no harmful substances are stored or handled in non-hazardous areas.
- Any harmful substances that have a reasonable potential for discharge from hazardous and/or non-hazardous deck drains on-board any Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit are stored within a secondary containment system.
- OMV GSB Ltd shall notify the EPA as soon as reasonably practicable, but within 24 hours, after a spill into the sea of any harmful substances first become known, or should have become known.
Multiple consents will be required under the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012 for OMV GSB Ltd to undertake the EAD programme. The activity that is the subject of this application cannot commence unless all other consents have been obtained.