Environment

We recognize that managing environmental impacts is an essential part of what it means to responsibly produce oil and gas

Environmental management

Throughout the life cycle of projects and operations that we and our co-venturers run in Azerbaijan, our aim is to manage the environmental and social impacts of our activities.

ISO 14001 certification

Our environmental management system has been certified to the ISO 14001 standard since 2000. In January 2013, the certification was renewed for three years. Maintaining the certificate requires regular surveillance audits carried out by an external auditor. In 2014, the regular audit programme covered East Azeri and Chirag platforms, our supply base and the Sangachal terminal. In addition, the West Chirag platform and our new office headquarters were audited for the first time. The programme confirmed that these facilities meet the standard requirements. 

Managing our impact

We have detailed procedures in place to regularly measure and minimize the environmental impact of the assets and facilities we operate on behalf of our co-venturers

Greenhouse gases and atmospheric emissions

Our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions arise from the burning of fuels in internal combustion engines, heaters and flaring of unrecoverable gas. In 2014, we emitted about 4,067,000 tonnes of gross GHG, which is almost 29% higher than in 2013. The main reason for this increase was higher volumes of flaring at the West and East Azeri platforms, as well as the start-up of the West Chirag.

Our NOx emissions increased by 26% compared to 2013 reaching 11,179 tonnes. This correlates with 19% increase in fuel gas use. There was a similar increase in SOx emissions. This was influenced by a 26% increase in diesel usage due to increased drilling activities and the subsequent higher intensity of logistics operations. Other main contributors to SOx emissions include the Shah Deniz platform and the Sangachal terminal.

Flaring and Energy consumption

In 2014, the amount of flaring at our facilities in Azerbaijan increased by 61% compared to the  previous year, from 256 to 413 thousand tonnes. The main factors contributing to this increase were commissioning of the West Chirag platform, gas flared across three Azeri platforms during major maintenance activities at Central Azeri and gas export constrains from Chirag to Oily Rocks.

Oil spills

In 2014, BP in Azerbaijan recorded  six oil spills, five of which were fully contained. Out of 14,311 litres of spilled material, 14,271 litres or 99.7% were contained. Only 40 litres of oil based mud reached the environment. This is a significant year-on-year improvement in the total number of oil spills (11 spills in 2013), the containment rate (95% in 2013) and the volume of material reaching the environment (643 litres in 2013). We continue formally reporting all material releases of hydrocarbons to the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, as well as to the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Waste management

We adopt a life cycle approach to waste management, with a goal of avoiding, reducing and reusing the waste that is created by our operations

Our operations in Azerbaijan generated a total of 368,839 tonnes of solid and liquid waste in 2014. The notable increase in the total volume of hazardous waste was caused by a significant amount of produced water sent for treatment and disposal as liquid waste. About 42% of the non-hazardous waste (5,690 tonnes) and 20% of the hazardous waste (63,314 tonnes) was recycled or reused by our contractors. In 2014, we continued to landfill treated hazardous drill cuttings accumulated at the Serenja facility from previous years by sending 69,193 tonnes to Sumgayit hazardous waste landfill. There were no shipments of nonhazardous drill cuttings from Serenja to the Sumgayit non-hazardous landfill cell.

Drill cuttings

We continue to base our approach to drill cuttings management on three main disposal options:  Discharge to sea is allowed for drill cuttings with synthetic-based mud (SBM) from the Chirag platform and with water-based mud (WBM) from other platforms and mobile drilling rigs. In 2014, our intensified drilling programme led to almost three-fold increase in the volume of drill cuttings discharged to sea (39,714 tonnes).

During the year, 9,745 tonnes of cuttings were injected into re-injection wells at the Azeri-Chirag-Deepwater Gunashli (ACG) field. The remaining 31,252 tonnes of cuttings (8% more than in 2013) were delivered to Serenja hazardous waste management facility.

Sewage

In 2014, there was a further reduction (from 21 to 12) of sewage treatment plant outages that result in untreated sewage releases offshore. However,the volume released increased by 5% from 195m3 to 204m3. We regularly monitor and analyse the performance of sewage treatment and quality of discharged water.

At the Sangachal terminal, monitoring results of treated sewage showed compliance with all  required parameters throughout the year. Along the export pipelines, an issue with elevated faecal coliforms parameter at the reed beds continued in 2014. A special monitoring was initiated to assess water quality across the reed beds area.

Produced water

Produced water volumes at the ACG field continue to rise. A total of 5,263,662 tonnes from ACG were separated at the Sangachal terminal in 2014. This represents an 18.5% annual increase. After treatment, 5,077,256 tonnes were exported back offshore for re-injection. The remaining 186,406 tonnes were sent to a third-party treatment facility.

Produced water volumes from the Shah Deniz field are much smaller than volumes from the ACG. In 2014, about 30,906 tonnes were separated and placed into the dedicated storage ponds at the Sangachal terminal.

Environmental monitoring

For more than 10 years, environmental surveys have been helping us to identify and understand the impacts of our activities on local environments

Our environmental monitoring programme is designed to provide a holistic approach to ambient monitoring around the offshore and onshore facilities that are operated by BP in Azerbaijan. A total of 171 monitoring studies were completed in 2004-14. This includes 21 environmental surveys in 2014, of which 13 were onshore, six were offshore and two were nearshore.

Because of the large number of samples and the number of factors analyzed for each sample producing interpretive reports takes up to two years. Therefore, we have summarized the 2013 survey results. 

Summary of ambient environmental survey results, 2013

Offshore

Deep Water Guneshli benthic survey
The chemical composition of sediments has remained relatively stable and metal concentrations were within background levels. Hydrocarbon concentrations were not influenced by operational activities at the platform. There was no evidence that operations are having an impact on the macrobenthic community, which is diverse and abundant throughout the survey area. Elevated barium concentrations may be related to discharged water-based mud (WBM) and/or drill cuttings.
West Azeri benthic survey
Distribution of sediment type has remained stable. Elevated barium concentrations indicated contamination from discharged mud and/or drill cuttings. The average concentration was lower than levels observed in 2009 that has remained relatively constant since 2005, indicating that the area of impact has not changed over time. Concentrations of linear alpha olefin have reduced and there is no evidence of any additional discharges or inputs. The macrobenthic communities have been rich in species and abundant.
Shah Deniz benthic survey
The seabed environment around the platform has been fairly stable over a number of surveys. Hydrocarbon concentrations were higher in 2013. However, the composition was typical of the background and the results indicate that this increase was due to natural variability. The higher concentrations of barium indicate the presence of drilling wastes discharged in 2010. There was no evidence of any impact on the macrobenthos from operations at the platform between 2011 and 2013.
Shah Deniz regional survey 
Sediment physical characteristics have changed very little in the north and south of the contract area, while in the central area changes have been recorded influenced by mud volcanoes. The recorded hydrocarbon concentrations in 2013 were higher than those from 2007, and very similar to those from 2005. Physically, chemically and biologically the survey area remained relatively unchanged compared to previous surveys, indicating a stable environment. 
The water quality had no evidence of hydrocarbon or heavy metal contamination. Phytoplankton species richness and community structure was similar to 2009 and 2011. The zooplankton community was similar to all previous surveys.

Nearshore

Sangachal Bay environmental survey
Hydrocarbon concentrations were higher than the previous surveys. The greatest increase between years has been identified at stations on the eastern side and southeast corner of the survey area. This may be due to the transportation of contaminated sediments by wave action from outside the bay. Sediments in the bay in 2013 were finer than those from surveys carried out in 2006-13. Polychaete abundance increased substantially. Phytoplankton was high in species richness. Although the community structure was similar, the zooplankton abundance was lower than during the two previous surveys.

Onshore

Sangachal terminal air quality survey 
Monitored parameters – NO, NO2, SO2, PM10, benzene and total volatile organic compounds (VOC) were within the applicable air quality standards. At one station the PM10 limit was exceeded, which may be associated with strong winds carrying material from either open land, or from construction activities.
Serenja HWMF air quality survey
Monitoring results for NO, NO2, SO2, PM10, benzene and total VOC around the facility were within air quality standards. Exceeding concentration of PM10 in a single station is considered to be due to natural wind-blown particulates from the surrounding land.
Sangachal terminal ground and surface water monitoring 
The samples from several monitoring wells around the terminal showed evidence of the presence of some pollutants, not exceeding the human health commercial assessment criteria, but the concentrations of the same parameters from a majority of the monitoring wells were below the laboratory detection limits.
Serenja HWMF groundwater monitoring
The monitoring did not detect any pollutants above the acceptable standards. Higher concentrations of number of parameters in the upper wells indicates a potential contribution of these contaminants from offsite sources.
Sangachal terminal soil and vegetation survey 
There was a notable improvement in ecosystem condition, particularly in crust cover and bare patch indicators. An increase of grass cover since the previous surveys was observed.
Sangachal terminal bird monitoring 
In three survey rounds 79 bird species were recorded within the area, of which 23 were resident species. There was no evidence of any reduction in bird biodiversity or numbers, but there was an indication that human commensal species had increased.
Sangachal terminal mammal and herpetofauna monitoring 
Evidence of species presence was observed on 86% of surveyed stations (total 73). In total, 21 species (10 reptiles, nine mammals and two amphibian) were recorded during the survey. The results show a relatively uniform distribution of animal presence across the area.
Sangachal terminal noise monitoring
Noise monitoring conducted at the three settlements adjacent to the terminal showed that all of the measured noise levels were within relevant standards (only a single night time measurement slightly exceeded the limit, which was potentially caused by night insects).
BTC pipeline air quality monitoring
Ambient air quality monitoring was carried out at five locations around PSA2 (NOx) and at two locations at IPA1 (NOx and SO2). All results were within the specified limits. 
Environmental noise monitoring
Daytime environmental noise monitoring conducted in at several locations along the pipeline routes showed noise levels that were within the relevant requirements. 
BTC pipeline ground and surface water monitoring 
Groundwater monitoring was carried out at the Garayazi aquifer and around PSA2. Surface water samples were collected at upstream and downstream locations at IPA1 and PSA2. All results were consistent with pre-construction baseline conditions and are compliant with relevant standards.
Landscape monitoring
Monitoring at each measure point indicated that restoration percentages now exceed 50% at sloped (59%) and flat (64%) sites along the pipelines than at the same sites (49% and 40% accordingly) in 2012
Vegetation cover biorestoration
Vegetation cover data indicates that 45% of the monitoring areas have vegetation cover equal to or greater than adjacent, undisturbed areas. At 88% of sites, the vegetation cover has shown an increasing trend over the seven years of monitoring. Four sites that in 2012 indicated a decreasing trend started to show an increasing trend.