How can Oil and Gas Companies reduce their Negative Impact on Biodiversity?

May 22, 2013

UNDP in Uzbekistan: Youth considering how oil and gas companies can reduce their impacts on biodiversity

How can oil and gas companies reduce their negative impacts on biodiversity? What can we learn from the experiences of other countries? Which of these experiences are applicable to Uzbekistan?

These were some questions answered by students of the Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas, during their presentations of how oil and gas companies can reduce their impacts on biodiversity and use new technologies for biodiversity conservation. The presentation competition was part of their recognition of the International Day for Biodiversity, which is celebrated worldwide on the 22nd of May.

According to The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) report (2012), significant progress has been made around the globe in order to reduce impacts on biodiversity from such upstream activities as drilling, seismic studies, construction, manufacturing, maintenance and transportation, all related to the oil and gas industry. As stated in the TEEB executive summary, oil and gas companies represent 36 per cent of companies which are more likely to report actions undertaken to reduce impacts on biodiversity. 

By taking part in the presentation competition, students had an opportunity to not only present their visions for the conservation of biodiversity, but also to enhance their knowledge in the field of new approaches undertaken to ensure the conservation of biodiversity by the oil-and-gas industry. The students have consequently been offered an introductory presentation regarding offset (compensation) schemes. These represent a new direction in the field of biodiversity conservation, used by oil and gas companies during their operations in developed countries.

In December 2012 a study tour to Australia was organised for a team of Uzbekistan biodiversity and oil-and-gas industry experts, where they learnt best practices in using offset schemes to prevent the irretrievable loss of biodiversity. The returning specialists have shared their knowledge regarding best biodiversity practices with students, who will one day become employees of the oil and gas industry.

This contest has been organised by the joint UNDP-GEF project `Mainstreaming Biodiversity into Uzbekistan`s Oil-and-Gas Sector Policies and Operations`, with the support of the State committee for Nature Protection, the `Uzbekneftegas` national holding company, and oil and gas companies operating in Uzbekistan.