In recognition of the need for the oil and gas industry to have immediate access to accurate and up to date environmental sensitivity information, the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA) have come together to develop a global repository of international habitat and sensitivity data which can be quickly and easily interpreted twenty-four hours a day.
The partnership between IPIECA and UNEP-WCMC began in 1995. The aim of the partnership, as laid out in a memorandum of understanding between the two organisations, is to jointly design and manage a programme of activities to increase knowledge and develop a greater understanding of international biodiversity issues, relating to the petroleum industry. The scope of the collaboration focuses on the development of the world’s most comprehensive repository of global habitat and sensitivity data.
In order to make this data easy to interpret and customise, IPIECA has sponsored the development of an Interactive Map Service (IMapS). IMapS provides a fully interactive, online service that allows users to create custom maps adding layers of information to meet their individual needs. Users can pinpoint exactly where they want to obtain information for and what information they wish to view. In this way IMapS presents complex information succinctly for the decision maker without the need for previous experience or specialised training.
As one of the primary uses for IMapS is in emergency response and planning, it has been a natural progression to incorporate IMapS into an emergency response training exercise called Exercise Clean Seas. This exercise is designed to be a realistic, multi-scenario exercise that fills a gap in the training of responders and emergency planners at all levels. A set of standard scenarios are available in the public domain and companies can customise these or create their own to suit their particular training requirements. The aim is for ‘Exercise Clean Seas’ to complement existing International Maritime Organisation and industry oil spill management initiatives.