Evaluating the impact of international environmental laws on oil/gas production
The government of Norway as a part of its energy policy is issuing new Licenses to companies for exploration of the Continental Shelf. Formulation of exploration policies is therefore an important part of long-term Norwegian resource management, and these policies have been designed with a view towards making the Norwegian continental shelf attractive to both established and new players who can contribute to efficient exploration. For the authorities, it is important that the licensed area is actively worked. The area comprised by the production license to be awarded is tailored so that companies are awarded only those areas where they have concrete plans.
The Oil Minister has made it clear he supports more oil exploration and drilling, possibly even around areas close to natural reserves and coastal cities. This comes at a time when Norway?s carbon emissions keep rising instead of being cut as promised.
Environmental pressure groups
, local community groups
, and some government Ministers are not fully convinced that this is the right approach for the government to take at this time and are concern about the environmental impacts of the expansion in exploration and production of oil and gas. They argue that this new expansion policy makes it difficult to reconcile Norway?s role as a major oil and gas producer and its efforts to maintain a credible environmental profile. They believe even with the best precaution, an environmental disaster could result and that expansion at this time is unwise and unsafe.
TARPRO OIL Company (TOC) has been operating in Norway for the last 10 years and is one of the companies that are planning to apply for new Licenses for both exploration and production. They have maintained very close relationships with the environmental movement in Norway and would like to continue to be viewed as an environmentally friendly company and proactive in their approach to protection of the environment. This new expansion could ruin their relationship with these groups
. They have therefore decided to review their position before launching their bid for the new License.
You are a Senior Manager of TOC and have been asked by the Managing Director to prepare an analysis of the situation and make recommentions. This will be in the form of a Board Paper for presentation at the next board meeting in which you will provide an evaluation of the situation and a proposal for action for the company.
Write a Board Paper addressed to the Board of Directors of TARPRO OIL Company (TOC) providing an analysis and advice for the company as to whether they should pursue this application for new licenses in order to expand the company?s operations given the current situation. Provide an action plan for the company as a part of the Board Paper.
Your proposal should take into account the following issues:
? Application of the principles of international environmental law such as
o The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities
o The precautionary principle,
o Sustainable development,
o The Polluter-Pays Principle and the prevention of Transboundary Principle
o The use/exploitation of environmental resources
? Assess the implications on biodiversity, sustainability and health
? Critically evaluate implications of this Licensing project on the local and international environment
? Critically Analyse the regulatory framework and the impact of this project on (national, local, regional and international) compliance standard
? Critically evaluate the role of non-state actors on the enforcing environmental laws
? Develop a step-by-step action plan and recommendations for implementing the proposed expansion project giving consideration to opposing views from the local communities and international pressure groups
? Your analysis and recommendations should also consider the benefits and potential barriers to successful implementation of this project and measures to be adopted to ensure that the project contributes positively to sustainable development.
? Format: Board Paper using the standard Template below. The assignment should be submitted as ONE WORD DOCUMENT file saved as Surname-FirstNamesInitial-M026LON-BP. Use Arial or New Times Romans, font of size 11 or 12 and include page numbers. Assignments submitted in pdf will not be marked.
? Word Limit: The word limit for this assignment is 2000 words. The marks of any student who exceeds the word limit by more than 10% (2200 words) will be reduced by 10%. There is not penalty for writing less than 2200 words.
? Referencing: Your assignment should include in-text citations and supported with a full List of References at the end of the assignment. You are expected to use the CULC?s Harvard Referencing Style available in moodle).
? Submission: When you submit your assignment in moodle, you need to include your Student ID Number and the Title of the Assignment (in the Submission Title box)
Assessing the Regular Assessment
Your assignment will be assessed using a rubric (marking criteria). This can be found in the Module Guide for M026LON International Environmental Law. The following interpretations of the learning outcomes will be applied:
LO1 Demonstrate a critical understanding of the rules and principles of international environmental law and policy in the context of the oil and gas industry (20 marks)
? The need for and the development of environmental laws, the factors behind the law: what issues are there to legislate against? What are the compliance standards?
? The principles are linked to key national and international policies/strategies and laws (?hard? and ?soft?) relating to the type of oil/gas production activity
? Disclosures: Should information on policy and law be made available to the public?
? What is the role of non-state actors in shaping international environmental law?
LO3 Analyse and critically evaluate the different mechanisms available to regulators for protecting the international environment within a jurisprudential context (15 marks)
? The need for (an independent) regulator and/or regulatory institution(s)
? Key legislative frameworks (which encapsulate the mechanisms) are fully considered
? The justification of the process of enforcing/implementing environmental laws (e.g. National/international courts, environmental protection agencies, etc)
LO4 Critically evaluate some of the current challenges that governments face in implementing international environmental law and policy (15 marks)
? Comment on responsibilities and obligations of the State (as against other States and relevant stakeholders) with regards to implementation of national and international legal frameworks relating to the impact of the project on the environment.
? Mention the challenge faced in balancing strategic national interest against regional and international obligations. Is there a conflict? What about the interest of the local population?
LO5 Appreciate and critically evaluate the wide range of social, economic and political impacts of the oil and gas industry and the tools needed to manage them (15 marks)
? The impact of oil and gas production on the environment: biodiversity, health, waste, water resources, nuclear energy, climate change.
? The strategies used by oil and gas companies to manage the environmental effects of their oil/gas activities
: are there lessons to be learnt from existing approaches?
LO6 Critically review the future development of laws and policies governing the international environment (10 marks)
? The circumstances under which a country should implement national as against international laws when dealing with current environmental issues
? The limitations of existing ?hard? and ?soft? environmental laws: are there precedents that can inform current oil/gas production standards and practices to guard against future environmental damage?
Section B (15 Marks): This component is explained on the marking rubric.
Section C (10 Marks): The component parts of this section are explained on the marking rubric and students were constantly being reminded about their level of attendance and class participation. For class participation, in addition to ?voluntary? contributions (e.g. Lectures and Seminars) students were assigned specific tasks which they have to complete and present to the rest of the class (e.g. Seminars and Group Activity
Template of the board meeting.
M026LON C01: International Environmental Law
Paper Reference: Student ID No.
Date of Paper: DD/MM/YYYY
Title of Paper: Give a suitable title for your board paper
Brief Synopsis of the Issue
Introduce key issues about the case study and the selected country; describe how your board paper has been organised to explore these issues and to address the assessment requirement (see assessment brief).
2. Impact of Oil/Gas Production on the Environment
The relationship between oil/gas production and the environment within the context of the case study country and company.
3. Oil/Gas Production and International Environmental Law
Types of international environmental laws and how they are expected to protect the environment from the type of project to be undertaken.
4. Critical Evaluation
Critical analysis and discussion making linkages between 1, 2 and 3 above and further justifying recommendations: what are the arguments for and against your recommendations?
5. Implementation of Recommendations
Step-by-step approach to implementing your proposed recommendations; consistency with the type of strategic objectives of the company towards environmental protection.
Signature and Date: Your full name and date of board paper (DD/MM/YYYY)
List of References
Make sure you use CULC?s Harvard Referencing Style Guide
Appendix (if any)
It is advisable to avoid using appendices where possible
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