Oil and Gas


Oil and gas activities within the UK are regulated by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The marine advice team works closely with the Environmental Management Team (EMT) within DECC who are responsible for the granting of environmental consents associated with oil and gas activities. For further background information on oil and gas refer to the Oil and Gas Key Information webpage.


JNCC advise DECC on a number of oil and gas activities that occur throughout all stages of development from exploration to production and through to decommissioning. This allows DECC to take into account nature conservation issues when they are considering whether to grant consents. Oil and gas companies are encouraged to consult with JNCC during the design stages of projects so that they aware of any conservation issues that may result from their activities and can be advised to adopt the best environmental techniques to minimise any adverse effects.  


JNCC are also involved in a number of offshore oil and gas industry initiatives including the UK Offshore Forum, the Monitoring Committee and are members of the Strategic Environmental Assessment steering committee.


Seismic surveys


Seismic surveys in the UKCS are carried out principally for the purposes exploration and the management of hydrocarbon reserves. JNCC reviews applications (PON14s) to conduct seismic surveys and advise DECC on what mitigation measures should be attached as conditions to the licence.  A mandatory condition of consent is that the JNCC guidelines for minimising the risk of disturbance and injury to marine mammals from seismic surveys (June 2009). For further details and a copy of the guidelines please to the seismic survey webpage.


Explosive use offshore


The use of explosives in the marine environment ranges from inshore activities such as harbour construction to offshore oil and gas operations such as well-head or platform decommissioning, all of which have the potential to impact upon marine mammals. The JNCC guidelines for minimising the risk of disturbance and injury to marine mammals whilst using explosives (June 2009) are considered to be best practice for offshore explosive operations. For further details and a copy of the guidelines refer to the explosive use offshore webpage.


© Alex Brown

Seabird Oil Sensitivity Index


In order to aid contingency planning for oil pollution, and to inform emergency decision making in the event of a pollution incident, JNCC have been involved in the development of the Seabird Oil Sensitivity Index (SOSI). The SOSI identifies areas at sea where seabirds are likely to be most sensitive to potential oil pollution.


For further information sources on oil and gas, including legislation, trade organisations and oil spill contingency planning tools refer to:  Oil and Gas - Key Information