Screening and planning for biodiversity risks in oil and gas projects

Gas tankerTBC regularly helps a number of industry leaders to screen for biodiversity risks, and to integrate those risks into early stage project planning and ESIA. Bespoke products are delivered to suit client needs, but Critical Habitat  is often chosen as a guiding framework for identifying risks.

Early screening helps companies identify major biodiversity risks before financial or time costs are incurred. Such costs can then be factored into project decision-making, and reduced by mitigation planned in advance. Critical Habitat , a core component of International Finance Corporation Performance Standard 6 (IFC PS6), is often used as a lens for identifying biodiversity likely to be of stakeholder concern.

Early screening is also important to shape design of early stage ESIA studies such as baseline surveys or stakeholder mapping. We find that risk screening often helps clients re-focus baseline surveys onto biodiversity that presents real risks to a project, rather than spending a lot on generic surveys. ESIA development can be dense and unwieldy – we focus on clear, concise priorities and are working towards streamlined PS6 documentation. We find that effective integration of biodiversity management into project design during the earliest stages of an ESIA is the best way to address reputational and compliance risks, meet lender requirements, or align with leading practice.