Use the Lexology Navigator tool to compare the answers in this article with those from other jurisdictions. 

Environmental protection


What preliminary environmental authorisations are required before commencing oil and gas-related activities?

A licence is required from the Federal Environment Agency before commencing any oil and gas-related project. Federal Law No 24 of 1999 for the Protection and Development of the Environment requires a project owner to apply for a licence to the Federal Environment Agency and the local authority in the relevant emirate. These entities will then conduct an environmental impact assessment on the proposed project. The applicant will be informed within a month of submission of the application whether a licence will be granted. 


What environmental protection requirements apply to the operation of oil and gas facilities?

Federal Law No 24 of 1999 for the Protection and Development of the Environment is designed, among other things, to protect the environment, control pollution and develop natural resources.

This law prohibits, among other things, the discharge of any polluting substance resulting from drilling, exploring, testing of wells or production into the water or land in the United Arab Emirates unless appropriate measures are taken to safeguard the environment. Owners of establishments dealing with hazardous waste must keep a registry of such wastes, methods of disposal and the parties contracted to receive such waste.

The Federal Environment Agency, in conjunction with environmental authorities in each emirate, issue guidelines on environmental safety and the management of waste resulting from the production, transportation and exportation of oil and gas. Monitoring is also conducted to ensure compliance with the same.


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?

Any person or entity who breaches any provision of Federal Law No 24 of 1999 which results in damage to others or the environment is responsible for all costs associated with the remedy of such breach. Such costs include damages as well as rehabilitation costs. Breaches of specific provisions of this law can also result in large fines and/or imprisonment. Breach of environmental laws may also create liabilities or give rise to termination rights under specific concession agreements.

Click here to view full article.