Specialist oil industry firm Opus is creating new jobs in Orkney and making fresh investment in its developing environmental business due to growing demand from North Sea operators.
Following recent acquisition of Opus by Aker Solutions, £420,000 is being invested in its Orkney-based environmental services group and four new members of staff – including a highly skilled production chemist and a process engineer – will be recruited over the next two years.
Oil companies are increasingly seeking help to improve their environmental performance as well as complying with ever-tightening regulations governing the discharging of water produced during the extraction of oil.
Opus offers the full range of expertise to satisfy UK risk based approach (RBA) obligations, having been the leading laboratory for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) trials in 2010 and was involved in developing the new approach introduced in January. Clients include BP, Shell, Centrica and Aberdeen-based Wood Group.
Its team of marine ecotoxicologists and process engineers carry out a six-step approach involving offshore sampling, toxicity testing, environmental modelling and consultancy using the internationally-renowned Best Available Techniques (BAT) and Best Environmental Practice (BEP) study methodology which is accepted by both oil companies and regulators.
Applying the BAT/BEP principles allows oil and gas operators to maximise production while preventing harmful discharges to the marine environment.
Glen McLellan, Director of Strategic Operations at Opus, said: “With the new legislation, no longer do oil companies just need to monitor the oil in water they discharge; they now also look at the overall toxicity of that effluent.
“Therefore, it gets tested for toxicity, then is subjected to environmental modelling to understand, predict and ensure that there is no risk of potential impact on the environment.”
The Opus laboratories, a member of the European Oilfield Speciality Chemicals Association, are one of the world’s leading facilities, offering high quality marine ecotoxicology.