Environmental Risk

For activities on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, quantitative environmental risk assessments are carried out using methods described in the OLF guidelines, drawing on best available environmental data sets, blowout simulations and use of the OSCAR oil drift model. The scope and detail of the analysis may range from simple to complex depending on the activity and client requirements. Results are related to client acceptance criteria.

For complex and sensitive activities requiring comprehensive analyses, additional methods may be included to address issues in adequate detail. If an ERA is carried out at a stage when well design has been decided, it should be preceded by an early phase environmental screening study. For activities outside the NCS, other approaches are adopted or developed.

Puffin with catch (1068 x 424)

Methods and approaches for quantitative environmental risk assessments in Norway were developed in as  means to arrive at objective and intercomparable expressions of the environmental risk associated with an activity. Environmental risk assessment and overall risk reduction are Authority requirements and objectives, and are specified in the Norwegian regulatory framework for offshore activities. Staff in the SensE team has been involved in this development process over the past 10 – 15 years, and is currently involved on ongoing development projects.

As for any numerical exercise, the quality of an environmental risk assessment is dependent on the quality of input data and an understanding of the relationship between input and output at the individual steps in the analysis. We focus on obtaining best available data on distribution of sensitive resources and valued ecosystem components, with an ongoing dialogue with data providers and scientific institutions. 

For more information contact: Cathrine Stephansen (cathrine.stephansen@akvaplan.niva.no)


To fulfill the intentions expressed in Authority guidelines of involving risk assessment in all parts of the well planning, we may provide our clients with an “integrator” role, retrieving and evaluating cross-disciplinary information and raising issues as appropriate.

To identify the full range of potential outcomes of an accidental oil spill, as the only provider in Norway, we run high resolution oil drift simulations, submitting all results to a risk assessment for all species where distribution data are available.

To achieve transparency and credibility, all results from the environmental risk assessment may be made available in an intuitive user interface on this web site.