Environmental legislation has assumed a pivotal role in the World-Wide drilling and oil producing operations, particularly in the UK and Norwegian. The degree of environmental acceptance offered by hydraulic fluids used in North Sea applications is now becoming a global standard and a major consideration in the choice of supplier and type of fluid used in blow out preventer (BOP) wellhead and subsea production systems.
In the UK sector of the North Sea, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) regulates the use and discharge of chemicals offshore. The Offshore Chemical Notification Scheme (OCNS), managed by Cefas, generates templates, which provide operating companies with sufficient environmental data to perform site-specific risk assessments. In the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT) regulates use and discharge of chemicals. Chemicals are registered onto the CHEMS database, which is maintained by Novatech, and operating companies have direct access to the environmental data.
The UK and Norway, as contracting parties to the OSPAR commission, use the PARCOM Harmonised Mandatory Control System (HMCS), whereby a Harmonised Offshore Chemical Notification Format (HOCNF) is generated for each product discharged to sea. OSPAR requirements are that each component within a product must be tested using, the following tests:
Biodegradation (OECD 306)
Measures the biodegradation of a component by micro-organisms within seawater over a 28 day period.
Bioaccumulation, Log Pow, (OECD107 or 117)
Measures the partition coefficient (Log Pow), to assess potential to accumulate within living organisms.
Aquatic Toxicity tests
Measures the concentration of component required to kill 50% of the test species over the test period. Toxicity is reported in ppm. A minimum of 3 taxonomic groups must be tested. The following page shows permissible species, test duration and end points.