The marine environment is in focus, and here we use field work, laboratory trials and modelling to investigate the effects of chronic and acute emissions and spills from oil and gas activities, as well as from aquaculture and the mining industry.
Integrated environmental control system
There is an increasing focus on environmental effects at all biological levels – everything from damage to simple organisms to damage to the entire ecosystem. In the oil and gas industry, various systems have been developed for environmental control of both accidental and operational (permitted) emissions. To cover the range from individual to ecosystem, there is a need to integrate and coordinate the systems, so that they can contribute to better total environmental assessments. This is about the integration of control tools for both risk assessment and the monitoring of environmental conditions. Arctic conditions (including krill as test organisms) are a main focus area in an NFR project in which in 2015 we described how individual systems for environmental risk, environmental effects and environmental monitoring at various levels can be integrated.
In 2015, IRIS Environment performed water column monitoring on the Martin Linge oilfield, which is located at a depth of 115 m, 42 km west of Oseberg. The aim of the project is to assess any environmental effects of drill cuttings treated with the socalled TCC (Thermomechanical Cuttings Cleaner) technology on cleaning and emissions from the Martin Linge field. The effects were assessed with the aid of monitoring stations with mussels in cages. Mussels react quickly to changes in the marine environment. The method of measuring various stress markers in mussels was modified from the water column monitoring that IRIS Environment has participated in for many years in connection with environmental monitoring of produced water emissions from fields on the Norwegian continental shelf. In parallel with the field trials, we performed laboratory trials to simulate the biological effects that can occur in connection with periodic drilling activity.
Aquaculture and sustainability
Sustainability and social acceptance of production methods and environmental impact are preconditions for growth in the aquaculture industry.
In the NFR project Aquaaccept, we will propose solutions that safeguard environmental resources and the interests of society. The industry is facing challenges in which salmon lice are a critical factor and in many cases a genuine threat to the industry. The NFR project Fluclim identifies the effects of medicinal feed on prawns.
Solving the salmon louse problem demands an integrated approach and IRIS is working with the aquaculture industry to find effective solutions. In the NFR project “Protection of farmed salmon against sea lice”, IRIS is verifying the “Seafarm Puls Guard” technology in full-scale trials at an aquaculture facility at Øygarden. This technology makes the salmon lice harmless at an early stage of development.
IRIS is involved in projects in which new aquaculture technology, such as fully or partially enclosed aquaculture units, is verified, including through studies and assessments of water quality and fish health with different solutions.