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What preliminary environmental authorisations are required before commencing oil and gas-related activities?
Under Article 39 of the Oil and Gas Law (Royal Decree 8/2011), right holders must carry out their operations with due care, in accordance with the technical standards provided for in their exploration and production sharing agreement and in a manner that guarantees environmental protection. Article 39 further provides that the concession holder must conduct operations with diligence and in accordance with the technical standards set out in the concession agreement and international conventions to which Oman is a party and must take all necessary measures to achieve this.
To obtain an environmental permit, an application, supported by an environmental study, should be made to the Ministry of Environment and Climatic Affairs before beginning the project.
What environmental protection requirements apply to the operation of oil and gas facilities?
The Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Oil and Gas set out the specific requirements applicable to the operation of oil and gas facilities. Article 39 of the Oil and Gas Law outlines the general environmental protection requirements when conducting oil and gas projects.
What are the consequences of failure to adhere to the relevant environmental regulations and to what extent can operators be held liable for environmental damage?
The Environment Protection and Pollution Combating Law (Royal Decree 114/2001) is the main piece of legislation governing environmental violations. The penalties for environmental damage vary depending on the nature of the breach and its effect, but typically consist of fines and remedies at the violator’s expense. More serious penalties consist of closure of the violator’s establishment or imprisonment of personnel deemed responsible for the violation.