A study on environmental issues in oil and gas industry in UK


Why is research that you are planning worth the effort?

The given research on environmental issues in oil and gas industry in UK is worth the effort so as to assess the problems that are surrounding the oil and gas industry of UK (Inkpen, and Moffett, 2011). The sector has provided for huge growth and development opportunities for UK industry however it has led to negative impact on the environment as well. These are in form of degrading it in a number of ways (Al-Azab, El-Shorbagy And Al-Ghais, 2005). For example, the emissions that are leased by the operations carried out in this industry are disposed off to nearby land and water there by polluting it entirely. Hence, the given research that has been planned is worth the effort. It is likely to assist towards identifying the impact caused by oil and gas industry towards environment of UK. It will further help to assess the overall effect on sustainability (Basedau and Lay, 2009). This is likely to aid towards the natural landscape and surrounding atmosphere has been harmed by the operational activities carried by firms operating in this sector. The study is likely to assist in helping the firm towards coming up with varied alternative measures that can be implemented for removing the impact on environment (Doukas and et.al., 2010). This will thus aid in making proper decision related to overall functioning of oil and gas sector of UK. It is likely to assist the researcher towards finding out the areas that require attention followed by recommending the appropriate action to be taken so as to reduce the degrading of environment on account of operations carried out by oil and gas industry (Elbanna and Gherib, 2012).

Identify your area of research

The area selected for the research study is on the environmental issues that are a part of UK based oil and gas industry.

Demonstrate your critical engagement with the relevant literature

In order to carry out any research it is important to study the past studies that have been carried out in the same subject by different authors and scholars. It helps in building a strong theoretical background for the topic under study environmental issues in oil and gas industry in UK.

Study by Dara O'Rourke Sarah Connolly has tried to assess the environmental, social, and health impacts of extracting oil followed by its transport, refining, and consumption. The studied majorly tried to focus on making use of an environmental justice framework for assessing the processes that influence the distribution of harmful effects on account of oil production and use. The study also made an attempt to critically evaluate the distributional and procedural impacts of oil production followed by its consumption (Dara O'Rourke Sarah, 2012).

Study by Razi and et.al., 2009, has reviewed technologies for oil and gas produced water treatment. The study focused on the produced water that acts as good source of waste which degrades the environment in case of oil and gas industries. It has been found that the produced water is leading to degradation of environment as the current technologies are not in a condition to remove the small-suspended oil particles as well as dissolved elements (Razi and et.al., 2009).

Study carried out by Akinsa, 2007 on Zero emissions of oil in water from offshore oil and gas installations: economic and environmental implications has discussed the major environmental concerns that are associated from the produced water form oil and gas firms. The study revealed towards the absence of any harm caused on marine environment from produced water but there is a presence of many uncertain areas that needs to explore. Study focused on the different techniques that are utilized for causing a reduction in discharges. The finding revealed towards the presence of environmental and financial implications that were significant in nature (Akinsa and etlal., 2007).

The study made an attempt to witness the Natural Gas Operations from the perspective of Public Health. It was found that there is a presence of more than 75% of the chemicals that have a tendency to affect skin, eyes as well as the sensory organs. Among them approximately 40–50% have put an impact on brain/nervous/ immune and cardiovascular system. The results indicated that these impacts have been on account of making use of chemicals during the fracturing and drilling stage in gas operations. The study further relived that chemicals have a drastic effect though they may not show an immediate effect (Colborna and et.al., 2011).

Even the online resources have shown the presence of many impacts from the exploration activities carried out in oil and gas sector. These are in form of the nose released from the exploration activities like seismic surveys, blasting, and drill rig operations (Laboy-Nieves and et. al., 2008). In the same way, impact is also caused on the air quality. This happens as pollutants in form of particulates, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide are released in the atmosphere (Magee and et. al., 2013).

Studies have also shown that use of technologies to extract natural gas is not free from environmental risks. These put an impact on the overall water quality, discharge of waste waters into rivers followed by accidental spills (Marshall, 2007).

It has further been found that management of waste water in case f shale gas extraction is acting as a major issue that has been dominating the environmental debate that surrounds the gas industry. The study further lays concerns on the reuse of produced water for addressing the issues related to the vast quantities of contaminants that are brought on surface. These all have led to diminished reuse of wastewater. Hence, the study concludes so as to find out the alternative management strategies for wastewater (Vidic and et.al., 2013).

Villasenor and et.al., 2003 made a study on assessing the impacts of emissions from the offshore operations of the oil and gas exploration and production by Mexican industry. The study identified potential emitters that affected the air quality. These were inclusive of trans-shipment stations, linking, shelter, pumping, water injection as well as telecommunication platforms (Villasenor and et.al., 2003).

Managi and et.al., 2004, carried out a study on Technological change and depletion in offshore oil and gas. The study concluded that progress in technology has outpaced depletion followed by causing an increase in the productivity (Managi and et.al., 2004).

Rahm, and Riha, 2012, conducted a study towards strategic management of shale gas development: Regional, collective impacts on water resources. The results indicated that the water withdrawal management strategies that have been proposed may not be there to provide greater environmental protection in comparison to simpler approaches. The study further recommended that the objective related to water resource management can be met by balancing the need for development by taking care of regulatory constraints (Rahm, and Riha, 2012).

Identify gaps in existing literature

Many studies have been done in the global oil and gas industry with respect to environment issues. However, none of the study has tried to focus on studying what are the environmental issues that surrounded the oil and gas industry of UK. Studies have focused on the fact that produced water form oil and gas industry is the major source of environment degradation. However, there is a need to add in future efforts to focus on optimum utilization of technologies which can help in proper treatment of generated waste from the oil and gas generation plants. In the same way, studies have tried to focus on the environmental influence of produced water but not the other chemical as well as emissions that are harmful for the overall environment.

Clarify where your proposal fits into the debate in the literature

It will thus make an attempt to give a brief overview about the oil and gas industry of UK, having an understanding about the environments hazards followed by suggesting recommendations that are crucial for bringing an improvement in the ongoing ienvironmrtal issues. It will focus on analyzing the ways by which oil and gas industry of UK is causing a degrading to the environment followed by assessing the impacts caused by the industry on overall environment of UK. It will further make an attempt to analyze the ways by which environment can be safeguarded in the light of growth to be attained by oil and gas industry in UK.

Identify relevant academic theory, models, frameworks and concepts

Three pillars of sustainability

In the current study there will be usage of model related to sustainability. As pert view point of Ratner, 2004, sustainability term can be defined as the manner in which all the biological processes remain productive as well as diverse during a long span of time. The aspects that are a part of sustainability includes economy, environment and the society. These are the three pillars that serve as a common ground for attaining sustainability (Ratner, 2004). Hence the oil and gas industry of UK is required to focus on three major pillars so as to do justice with the environment and stop depletion of environment.


The oil and gas industry of UK is based on a major objective of delivering sources of energy. The activities are divided into exploration/production, and refining/marketing. Exploration and production activities are inclusive of searching for new oil or gas fields. Carrying out assessment of whether they are viable for dev elopement followed by extracting oil and gas from them. The second bunch of activity being Refining and marketing focuses on processing the raw product into a form that is saleable (Energy (oil and gas): industry sector overview, 2014).

The oil and gas industry in UK in the year 2012 has led to a production of around 50 million cubic metres of petrol. Out of these 98 percent is produced from the offshore fields. It has further been found out that most of the oil and gas production of UK comes from offshore. This happens due to a network of 14,000 km of pipelines that link 107 platforms of oil, 181 gas platforms followed by a large number of subsea installations. There is a presence of 383 offshore fields which are inclusive of 17 that started their production in the year 2008. From the late 1970 up till early 2000, United Kingdom has been a major exporter of oil and gas. UK is also a net importer of oil and gas.

In this regard, Oil and Gas UK is a leading body that is representative of UK based offshore oil and gas industry. It is also an NGO that was established in the year 2007 but has stretched back over a span of 40 years. The company is based on an aim to strengthen the overall health of oil and gas industry in UK (About Us, 2014).


To assess the impact of impact of oil and gas industry in UK on environment.


What is the impact of oil and gas industry in UK on environment?


  • To assess the ways in which oil and gas industry in UK has been causing degradation of environment.
  • To analyze the impacts caused by oil and gas industry on UK environment.
  • To recommend ways in which environment can be safeguarded followed by maintain growth of oil and gas industry in UK.



Research methodology depicts about the deploying of tools and techniques of research in order to evaluate the issue with detail insight and views (Chapman, 2011). In the present study to attain the aim and objectives of research that is to examine the impact of oil and gas industry on environment and sustainability of UK, different tools and techniques of methodology will be applied. On the basis of which researcher will explore the issue in coherent and explanatory manner.

Research Philosophy

In consideration to the topic of the study, researcher will applied the research philosophy of interpretivism. With the help of this research philosophy the different ways in which oil and gas industry causes the degradation in the environment of UK will be assessed (Scruggs and Mastropieri, 2006). Rationale behind applying interpretivism philosophy instead of positivism is that, this research philosophy will help to interpret the different causes and impact on the environment.

Study will also be based on qualitative nature and positivism is applied on quantitative research where the data is specific and analyzed by using statistical tools (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2007). By using the interpretivism research philosophy, researcher will also be able to interpret the different elements which affects on the environment degradation on sustainability on UK.

Research Design

There are different types of research designs which are applied in accordance with the aim and objectives of the research such as descriptive, exploratory, experimental, causal and many other research design are used. In the present research descriptive research design will be applied (Merriam, 2009). This research design will help to construct as framework that how oil and gas industry is degrading the natural environment and sustainability of the country.

Descriptive research design will also assist the researcher to gain the deeper knowledge and understanding about the impact of oil and gas sector. Other research design such as experimental, causal or exploratory research design will not correctly fulfilled the aim and objectives of the research (Daniel and Sam, 2011). As per the objectives of the study, descriptive research design will help the researcher to carry out the research in one specific direction by interpreting the different causes and impact of oil and gas industry on the environment of UK.

Research Approach

Inductive and deductive are two types of research approach which are used to deliver the outcomes of the study in appropriate and legitimate manner. Inductive approach will be applied in the research to form the broader and generalized form of results about the impact on the natural environment and sustainability of UK (Suri and Clarke, 2009). The reason behind not using the deductive approach in the study is that this research approach delivers the results and outcomes of study in specific and explicit manner. These results are also based on testing of hypothesis and using of quantitative tools (Bell, 2010). Using of inductive approach will deliver the findings and conclusion of the study in appropriate and descriptive manner.

Research Type

Aim of the study to assess the impact of oil and gas industry in UK that this sector is degrading the environment and sustainability of the country (Hjorland, 2005). On the basis of the aim of the study, research report will be based on qualitative nature. Researcher will underpin the impact of this industry on the nature and also detail that which are the different ways which are responsible for the degradation and sustainability (Tracy, 2012). As per the aim and objectives of the research, researcher cannot present the study in from of quantitative results or apply any quantitative tools. Study is based on analyzing the impact of oil and gas industry on the environment and sustainability (Pennink and Jonker, 2010). On this subject matter, researcher cannot collect the data which can be measured or analyzed by using the statistical figures of quantitative tools of data analysis.

Data Collection Methods

Primary and secondary methods of data collection are two different ways through which data can be collected for the research purpose. In the primary research, data is collected from the respondents and it is collected first time by the researcher (Pennink and Jonker, 2010). On the other hand secondary method of data collection is different from primary methods.
In this method, researcher collect the data from secondary sources which are already collected by some other people, agencies etc. In context to this research project, researcher will collect the data by using the secondary method of data collection (Olsen, 2011). Information and data will be based on the oil and gas industry that how this sector is affecting the natural habitat of UK and degrading the sustainability (Goddard and Melville, 2004). Data will be collected from different researches, journals, books, articles, online websites, newspapers and many other secondary modes of data collection methods. On accessing these data related to the oil and gas industry of UK and the impact of this industry on the environment of the country will reveal the different ways of pollution and degradation (Khotri, 2008).

Data analysis

Tools and techniques of data analysis plays significant role in the entire study as this methodology states about analysis of collected data to attain the aim and objectives of the report. Qualitative and quantitative techniques analyse the data by using statistical methods or through techniques of qualitative research (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2007). In the present study, researcher will applied qualitative data analysis technique to examine the data of oil and gas industry which is making huge impact on the environment of UK and also degrading the sustainability of natural resources due to its pollutants and waste material (Daniel and Sam, 2011). Quantitative tools and techniques are applied when the collected data is based on some measurable figures or observation or the data which can be analyzed by using statistical tools to generate specific results or outcomes for the research.

Method of thematic analysis will be used to analyse the collected data. By using this technique of qualitative analysis, researcher will analyse the data through different themes which are specifically based on the subject matter of the study (Pennink and Jonker, 2010). Thematic analysis will be based on different ways through which oil and gas industry is causing the environment degradation, impact of this on the natural resources and surrounding environment and evaluation of environment degradation on sustainability of the nation.

Validity and Reliability

For attaining the findings of the study in appropriate manner and to summarize the conclusion of the study, researcher will maintain validity and reliability of the data in the research (Merriam, 2009). To accomplish the aim and objectives of the research which are based on the oil and gas sector, all the tools and techniques of research will be applied in valid manner. In addition to this, data which will be collected from the secondary method of data collection will also be accessed from reliable and authentic manner (Scruggs and Mastropieri, 2006) Entire research project will be completed in chronological manner so that researcher can underpin the need and purpose of each chapter of the study in significant manner (Daniel and Sam, 2011).

Ethical Consideration

Conducting the study in terms of ethical aspect is one of the important factors as without ethical consideration, researcher will not be able to deliver valid conclusion and finding. Data which is collected and analyzed will be detailed without any biasness and misrepresentation (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2007). At last the researcher will ensure that appropriate concern will be paid on the objectives and research question of the study.

Limitation of Research

There may be some limitations in the study. First is that dissertation will not be based on primary research or the data which will be collected will only based on secondary information only (Pennink and Jonker, 2010). Absence of primary data collection and quantitative will be one of the limitations of this research. Another research limitation in the study is that there is lack of availability of literature review on oil and gas industry of UK that how this sector is affecting the environmental conditions and degrading the sustainability of the natural resources (Hjorland, 2005).


  • Al-Azab, M., El-Shorbagy, W. And Al-Ghais, S., 2005. Oil Pollution and its Environmental Impact in the Arabian Gulf Region. Elsevier.
  • Basedau, M. and Lay, J., 2009. Resource Curse or Rentier Peace? The Ambiguous Effect of Oil Wealth and Oil Dependence and Violent Conflict. Journal of Peace Research.
  • Bell, J. 2010. Doing Your Research Project. 5th ed. McGraw-Hill International.
  • Chapman, J. R. 2011. Simple Tools and Techniques for Enterprise Risk Management. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Colborna, T., and et.al., 2011. Natural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal.  
  • Daniel, S. P. and Sam, G. A., 2011. Research Methodology. Gyan Publishing House.
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