International law on offshore decommissioning in Southeast Asia

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1 International law on offshore decommissioning in Southeast Asia Offshore Decommissioning Training Workshop Asia Pacific InterContinental Hotel, Kuala Lumpur 31 st October-1 st November 2013 Youna Lyons Senior Research Fellow, Centre for International Law

2 Outline I. Definitions and scope II. Relevance of maritime zones III. The legal landscape IV. Extent of the obligation of removal V. International rules on dumping VI. Obligation of due regard VII.Conclusion

3 I- Definitions and scoping Decommissioning is not a legal term of art: removal vs. abandonment and dumping UNCLOS applies to any installation or structure which is abandoned or disused, including subsea structures Disposal at sea is dumping and requires a permit Pipelines are not expressly mentioned in this context and excluded from 1996 LP Well capping/abandonment left to domestic law and industry Drill cuttings and debris left around the installations are not mentioned (no clear best practice)

4 II- Maritime Zones around the SCS US Department of State

5 II- > 20 years old installations: where? Coastal States Maritime zone Installations > 30 years Installations years Total per country TS/Archipel agic waters EEZ TS/Archipel agic waters EEZ Indonesia Malaysia 63 (15) (8) Brunei 74 (48) (19) Thailand Philippines Vietnam China Sub-total Grand total Values must be considered as indicative only due to known discrepancies between sources - Compiled from OPL World Offshore Field Development Guide Database, Vol 2: Asia, India, Australasia & Far East, 2010

6 III- International legal landscape Shipping 1989 IMO Guidelines on Removal of Offshore Installations 1972 London Convention on Dumping 1996 London Protocol 2000 and 2009 Guidelines on the Placement of Artificial Reefs 1973/78 MARPOL Conv.(Annexes I, II and V) Constitution for the Ocean (1982 Law of the Sea Conv.) Art. 60, 208 & 214 Art. 210 & 216 Art. 208 & 214 Art. 194(5) & 237 Art. 194(5) Protection of the Marine Environment 1992 UN Convention on Biological Diversity COP Ecologically and Biologically Sensitive Areas (EBSAs) 1975 Convention on Migratory Species (e.g. sea turtles) 1973 Convention on the Protection of Wetlands Endangered species in CITES

7 IV- Extent of the obligation of removal in the Exclusive Economic Zone Art. 60 (3) UNCLOS Installations shall be removed to ensure safety of navigation, taking into account accepted international standards, fisheries and environment. If left in place, obligation to give adequate publicity 1989 IMO Guidelines Fixed platforms < 75m deep and 4000t are under more stringent removal rules Must be removed unless impossible, too costly or too dangerous Removal also required if on customary traffic lanes However, these rules don t apply if the platform or a part of it serves a new use

8 Location and profile: where 1/5 Bathymetry Etopo 5 data Courtesy of TMSI - NUS

9 IV- Extent of the obligation of removal in all maritime zones Art. 208 LOS Art. 194(5) Transboundary areas Adopt laws and regs to prevent and control pollution from activities arising from or in connection with seabed activities Laws must be no less effective than international rules and standards Obligation to endeavour to harmonize policies and adopt regional rules and standards Duty to protect rare or fragile ecosystems and the habitat of depleted, threatened or endangered species Increased diligence standard in transboundary areas

10 IV- Extent of the obligation of removal in all maritime zones Obligation to take appropriate measures to prevent or minimize as far as possible the risk of significant harm Not an obligation of removal but one of adopting regulation Need for an EIA-type process including proper scrutiny

11 V- International Rules on Dumping Placement at sea for disposal is dumping Art.210: as effective as global rules and standards 1972 London Convention on Dumping has only been ratified by the Philippines BUT it is a recognised global standard It sets a minimum standard of due diligence and imposes that coastal States and flag States adopt rules: case-by-case assessment of the environmental risk, of dumping site characteristics, of land-based methods of treatment and of the impacts on other uses.

12 VI- Obligation of due regard Navigation Safety of navigation in archipelagic sealane passage or routes normally used for international navigation Fisheries and other uses Will depend on traffic and magnitude of risk of interference

13 VI- Obligation of due regard

14 VI- Obligation of due regard Shipping traffic in the seas of Southeast Asia (National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis from UC Santa Barbara)

15 VI- Obligation of due regard

16 VII. Conclusion: Regional perspective No specific regulations on well-capping and abandonment nor pipeline abandonment or disposal Fragmented rules from IMO, London Convention, MARPOL, etc. Interference with safety of navigations and conflict with other uses need to be assessed, especially in the EEZ Coastal States and flag States have an obligation to adopt regulations on dumping and the treatment of offshore platforms They also have an obligation of due diligence

17 Source: Census of Marine Life: Thank you! Questions?

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