Arctic Marine Oil Pollution Prevention: Task Force Meets

By George Backwell
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Arctic drilling platform: File photo

When the Arctic Council’s Task Force on Arctic Marine Oil Pollution Prevention (TFOPP) met recently in Ottawa, it says it took important steps towards developing the Action Plan for oil pollution prevention mandated by Ministers in Kiruna. The Task Force is focused particularly on potential safety measures to prevent oil pollution from maritime and petroleum activities.

The Arctic Council’s Task Force on Arctic Marine Oil Pollution Prevention (TFOPP) held its third meeting in Ottawa on 12-13 June, 2014. Co-chaired by Russia and Norway, the Task Force is responsible for developing an “Arctic Council Action Plan for Oil Pollution Prevention” and related cooperative arrangements, as appropriate, and to present the outcomes of its work and any recommendations for further action at the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in 2015.

The TFOPP is making good progress towards preparing its Action Plan. This involves such steps as identifying those measures that should take priority and articulating the practical issues that may be associated with those priority measures.

The themes the Task Force is tackling break down into two broad categories: prevention of oil pollution from petroleum activities; and potential maritime safety measures to prevent oil pollution. One key goal for the Action Plan is to help the Arctic States enhance their work in these fields by learning from one another’s distinct knowledge and experience.

All eight Arctic states were present at the meeting in Ottawa, as were two Permanent Participant organizations; the Aleut International Association (AIA) and the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC). Also taking part in the discussions were representatives from Working Groups PAME and EPPR. Their presence was particularly relevant, as the Task Force’s work dovetails in many regards with that of the two Working Groups.

Also present were accredited observers from six states (Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore and the United Kingdom) and two organizations (WWF and the Circumpolar Conservation Union), many of whom contributed useful suggestions and commentary to the deliberations. In addition, outside experts from the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP) and the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) were invited by the Chair to share their knowledge and experience in the field of oil pollution prevention.

The next meeting of the Task Force will take place from 10-11 September 2014 in Nuuk, Greenland.
 

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