From the North American Arctic and the African Saharan desert to onshore refining facilities and offshore drilling rigs, ERM is involved in some of the world's most exciting and challenging oil and gas projects.
For more than 40 years, ERM has been helping operators explore safely and develop reserves while complying with legislation, maintaining their social license to operate and preserving the environment. The oil and gas sector remains at the core of our business.
As the oil and gas industry has evolved, so too have our services. The search for unconventional resources; the use of new extraction techniques; the investment in renewables; the emergence of more stringent safety controls: all these factors are redefining the oil and gas industry. ERM is part of this transformation. Our oil and gas clients draw on every ERM practice as well as our global resources to help minimize the impact on the planet and its people. Our comprehensive services and extensive expertise enable operators to:
- Mitigate major accident risks and develop emergency response plans;
- Explore and extract resources in sensitive and highly populated areas;
- Maintain, cleanup and divest downstream facilities; and
- Meet their regulatory and ethical obligations.
Working with our clients in this sector, we help them to adjust to the new operating environment and maximize business outcomes.
ERM Leads Work in the Arctic and Extreme Environments
The Arctic is one of the most resource-rich regions on earth. Not only are there abundant hydrocarbon and mineral deposits, but the Arctic is also the home of unique ecosystems and communities of people that have adapted to and co-existed with the harsh natural environment. The region features some of the most extreme climatic and physical conditions on the planet, and populations are constrained and food chains are incredibly fragile. Today, there is mounting pressure to enter Arctic regions to access hydrocarbon and mineral reserves on a significant and unprecedented commercial scale. The challenge faced by all stakeholders is to undertake this enterprise sustainably, safely and without loss of biodiversity, avoiding irreversible damage to ecosystems while enabling indigenous peoples to maintain their ways of life.
ERM is one of the leading consultancies supporting sustainable exploration and development in the Arctic, having worked on Alaska's North Slope, the Aleutian Islands, Greenland, Russia and other locations. Our specialists apply field experience and in-depth understanding of the evolving issues to provide successful solutions in this challenging environment.
Assessing the Value of Sustainability Risks
For major capital projects, sustainability issues such as environmental damage, health hazards, climate variability and socioeconomic effects can pose a real operational risk. Public perception of the risks can compound their effects, resulting in permitting delays or business interruptions with significant financial costs. Increasingly, companies are aware of these risks, and ERM is working to evaluate and help minimize these risks for our oil and gas sector clients.
One of these clients was focused on improving the management of its financial margins and, to that end, ERM worked with this client studying the sustainability impacts across their capital project portfolio and developing an estimate of the financial risks at its sites around the world. The study also probed for opportunities to reduce these risks, as well as opportunities to leverage sustainability for improved net present value of assets. We also identified organizational changes the client could make to drive awareness and expertise in sustainability management into the leadership and field teams for each capital asset, rather than having it remain as a function of their headquarters.
We are continuing to work with this client to focus on understanding and minimizing sustainability risks, especially the social challenges, associated with its extensive operations in the shale plays in North America.
Responsible Gas Development in Peru
The Camisea Gas Project is one of the largest energy developments in Peru, located in an area with rich biodiversity and some native tribes that remain isolated from the outside world. ERM has supported Pluspetrol for more than 10 years as it has worked to access the Camisea region's fuel resources in an environmentally and socially responsible way.
The Peruvian authorities recently approved the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) that ERM prepared on behalf of Pluspetrol, to support the expansion of exploratory activities on Block 88. The ESIA addressed many complex issues associated with both the tropical rainforest ecosystem and the uncontacted local population. The ERM team helped Pluspetrol design a development approach that includes plans for seismic exploration, 18 gas wells and a 10-kilometer-long pipeline. The approach minimizes environmental impacts and respects the rights of indigenous people.
ERM also conducts biological monitoring, ongoing since 2003, in the jungle setting of Block 88 where Pluspetrol is currently producing natural gas, and in the marine ecosystem affected by the associated storage, processing and transport facilities at Pisco Port. Through collaboration with international financial institutions, universities and other oil and gas operators, ERM's work on the Camisea Gas Project is recognized as an example of sustainable development.
Mike Everett, Nairobi, Kenya
Creating a Presence in East Africa
As Managing Partner for ERM's new operations in East Africa - which covers not only Kenya, but also Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia - my role is to develop and grow the East Africa office, capitalizing on the larger-scale opportunities in this region.
Africa is a unique continent that is host to 30 percent of the world's total hydrocarbons and mineral reserves, yet is still one of the most impoverished continents. It is essential that the mineral and oil and gas extraction sectors start to show and create benefits to local communities. Most of the clients I work with and for genuinely want to incorporate best practice into the way they work with and interact with communities, and manage health, safety and the environment.
Our operations in East Africa provide a diverse mix of environmental, social and business consulting skills. Our regional competition is pretty limited as to what they can provide and I feel ERM can capitalize on this by providing local support on a wider range of services, particularly as it becomes more and more important for some of our clients to utilize a workforce from the surrounding communities.