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MILLISON, DAN, Ecology and Environment, Inc., Hosuton, TX

ABSTRACT: Environmental Regulation in the New Exploration Climate: After Rio, What Next?

Exploration activities of U.S.-headquartered petroleum companies have increasingly shifted to international targets, in large part due to excessive environmental regulation. However., governments hosting new exploration venues are promulgating environmental regulations, often, based on U.S. EPA regulations, which affect the economics of oil and gas operations. New host-country regulations, combined with a growing worldwide "green movement," require the new exploration climate to be evaluated in terms of environmental restrictions on drilling, production, and downstream operations. Is the industry truly fleeing regulation, but destined to dead-end in a never-never land of dwindling opportunity ? Or is there hope for a system of reasonable regulations which encourage "sustainable develo ment" of new petroleum resources?

The green movement now places a new burden on trade: exporters must verify to "green" consumers that their products are "environmentally friendly", effectively introducing a non-tariff trade restriction. The playing field of international trade is leveled by adaption of U.S.- or European-style environmental regulation. The UNCED conference in Rio has further promoted a system of international environmental regulation which will likely grow stronger as globalization of trade increases.

This presentation focuses on the increasing standardization of international regulations which affect petroleum development. Key issues discussed are:

(1.) effect of atmospheric emissions controls on energy development policy and petroleum operations;

(2.) environmental regulations in Latin America: risk- vs. technology-based policies;

(3.) linking environmental regulations and international trade.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90988©1993 AAPG/SVG International Congress and Exhibition, Caracas, Venezuela, March 14-17, 1993.