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

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  • Level: High school
  • Pages: 14 / Words 3552
  • Paper Type: Case Study
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BACKGROUND

Why Is the Research That You Are Planning Worth the Effort?

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

Identify Your Area of Research

The area selected for the research study is the environmental issues that are a part of UK 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 on the same subject by different authors and scholars. It helps in building a strong theoretical background for the topic under study environmental issues in the oil and gas industry in the UK.

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The study by Dara O'Rourke and Sarah Connolly has tried to assess the environmental, social, and health impacts of extracting oil followed by its transport, refining, and consumption. The study 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).

A 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 a good source of waste which degrades the environment in the case of oil and gas industries. It has been found that the produced water is leading to the degradation of the 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).

A 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 with the produced water from oil and gas firms. The study revealed the absence of any harm caused to the marine environment by producing water but there is a presence of many uncertain areas that need to be explored. The study focused on the different techniques that are utilized for causing a reduction in discharges. The finding revealed the presence of environmental and financial implications that were significant in nature (Akinsa and al., 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 sensory organs. Among them, approximately 40-50% have had an impact on the brain/nervous/ immune and cardiovascular systems. 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 revealed that chemicals have a drastic effect though they may not show an immediate effect (Colborna and et.al., 2011).

Even online resources have shown the presence of many impacts from the exploration activities carried out in the oil and gas sector. These are in the form of the nose released from 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 the form of particulates, oxides of nitrogen, and carbon monoxide are released into the atmosphere (Magee and et. al., 2013).

Studies have also shown that the use of technologies to extract natural gas is not free from environmental risks. These have 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 the management of wastewater in the case of 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 to the surface. These all have led to diminished reuse of wastewater. Hence, the study concludes so as to find out alternative management strategies for wastewater (Vidic and et.al., 2013).

Villasenor and et.al., 2003 conducted a study to assess 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).

Manage 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 productivity (Managi and et.al., 2004).

Rahm, and Riha, 2012, conducted a study on 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 environmental issues. However, none of the studies has tried to focus on studying what are the environmental issues that surround the oil and gas industry of the UK. Studies have focused on the fact that produced water from the oil and gas industry is the major source of environmental degradation. However, there is a need to add future efforts to focus on the optimum utilization of technologies that can help in the 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 chemicals as well as emissions that are harmful to 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 of the oil and gas industry of the UK, having an understanding of the environmental hazards followed by suggesting recommendations that are crucial for bringing an improvement in the ongoing environmental issues. It will focus on analyzing the ways by which the oil and gas industry of the UK is degrading to the environment followed by assessing the impacts caused by the industry on the overall environment of the UK. It will further make an attempt to analyze the ways by which the environment can be safeguarded in the light of growth to be attained by the oil and gas industry in the UK.

Identify Relevant Academic Theories, Models, Frameworks, and Concepts

Three pillars of sustainability

In the current study, there will be usage of models related to sustainability. As per the viewpoint of Ratner, 2004, sustainability terms 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 include economy, environment, and society. These are the three pillars that serve as a common ground for attaining sustainability (Ratner, 2004). Hence the oil and gas industry of the UK is required to focus on three major pillars so as to do justice to the environment and stop the depletion of the environment.

INDUSTRY BACKGROUND

The oil and gas industry of the 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 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 the UK in the year 2012 has led to the production of around 50 million cubic meters of petrol. Out of these 98 percent is produced from the offshore fields. It has further been found that most of the oil and gas production of the UK comes from offshore. This happens due to a network of 14,000 km of pipelines that link 107 platforms of oil, and 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 late 1970 up till early 2000, the United Kingdom was a major exporter of oil and gas. The 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 the oil and gas industry in the UK (About Us, 2014).

RESEARCH AIM

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

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

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

OBJECTIVES FRAMED FOR THE STUDY

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

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RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Introduction

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

Research Philosophy

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

The study will also be based on a qualitative nature and positivism is applied to quantitative research where the data is specific and analyzed by using statistical tools (Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill, 2007). By using the interpretivism research philosophy, a researcher will also be able to interpret the different elements that affect environmental degradation on sustainability in the UK.

Research Design

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

The descriptive research design will also assist the researcher in gaining deeper knowledge and understanding of the impact of the oil and gas sector. Other research designs such as experimental, causal, or exploratory research designs will not correctly fulfill 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 impacts of the oil and gas industry on the environment of the UK.

Research Approach

Inductive and deductive are two types of research approaches that are used to deliver the outcomes of the study in appropriate and legitimate manner. An inductive approach will be applied in the research to form a broader and generalized form of results about the impact on the natural environment and sustainability of the 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 the study in a specific and explicit manner. These results are also based on testing the hypothesis and using quantitative tools (Bell, 2010). Using of inductive approach will deliver the findings and conclusion of the study in appropriate and descriptive manner.

Research Type

The aim of the study is to assess the impact of the oil and gas industry in the UK that this sector is degrading the environment and sustainability of the country (Hjorland, 2005). On the basis of the aim of the study, the research report will be based on a qualitative nature. Researchers will underpin the impact of this industry on nature and also detail that which are the different ways that are responsible for the degradation and sustainability (Tracy, 2012). As per the aim and objectives of the research, the researcher cannot present the study in the form of quantitative results or apply any quantitative tools. The study is based on analyzing the impact of the oil and gas industry on the environment and sustainability (Pennink and Jonker, 2010). On this subject matter, the researcher cannot collect data that 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 research purposes. In 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 the primary methods.
In this method, the researcher collects the data from secondary sources which are already collected by some other people, agencies, etc. In the context of this research project, the 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 and how this sector is affecting the natural habitat of the UK and degrading sustainability (Goddard and Melville, 2004). Data will be collected from different research, journals, books, articles, online websites, newspapers, and many other secondary modes of data collection methods. Accessing these data related to the oil and gas industry of the 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 play a significant role in the entire study as this methodology states the analysis of collected data to attain the aim and objectives of the report. Qualitative and quantitative techniques analyze the data by using statistical methods or through techniques of qualitative research (Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill, 2007). In the present study, the researcher will apply qualitative data analysis technique to examine the data of the oil and gas industry which is making a huge impact on the environment of the 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 observations or the data can be analyzed by using statistical tools to generate specific results or outcomes for the research.

Method of thematic analysis will be used to analyze the collected data. By using this technique of qualitative analysis, a researcher will analyze 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 the oil and gas industry is causing environmental degradation, the impact of this on the natural resources and surrounding environment, and the evaluation of environmental degradation on the sustainability of the nation.

Validity and Reliability

To attain the findings of the study in appropriate manner and to summarize the conclusion of the study, a researcher will maintain the 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 will be collected from the secondary method of data collection and will also be accessed in reliable and authentic manner (Scruggs and Mastropieri, 2006) Entire research project will be completed in chronological manner so that the researcher can underpin the need and purpose of each chapter of the study in a significant manner (Daniel and Sam, 2011).

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Ethical Consideration

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

Limitation of Research

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

REFERENCES

  • 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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