Dreki - Strategic Environmental Assessment

JM_oliugr_fjarlThe Strategic Environmental Assessment for the northern part of the Dreki Area was published by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism in 2007. Several comments were received on the SEA-report, and a summary written with responses to the comments. The northern part of the Dreki area refers to an ocean area in the Icelandic exclusive economic zone lying east of 11.5° W and north of 67° N and is demarcated to the east and north by Iceland's 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

Several reports appendices were published with the report with further information on e.g. the weather patterns, wave conditions, biota etc. in the area. Most of these are only available in English, but an summary is made of the appendices in the English translation of the main report that can be accessed through the link above. However, the Project G-1 report that was written by Sagex in the early stages of the SEA is available in English.

The report evaluates the effect of initiating exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the area in accordance with Act No. 105/2006 on strategic environmental assessments of plans (which transposes the EU SEA Directive into Icelandic law).

The report includes a review of the existing legal frame and health, safety and environmental issues, as well as an evaluation of potential hydrocarbon resources in the Dreki area on the basis of current knowledge. Furthermore, an assessment on the geology, biota and climate in the Dreki area, and a strategic environmental assessment of the plan was prepared in accordance with the Act on the strategic environmental assessment of plans. An assessment has also been made of what important information is lacking, along with proposed remedies.

No major obstacles were discovered in the report for initating exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the area by granting exclusive licences for such activities. In summary, the main conclusions and recommendations of the report are:

  • Distance from shore 200-400 km.
  • Water depths 1000 to 2000 m in 80% of the area.
  • Cold oceanic climate.
  • Wave height less that off the west-coast of Norway.
  • Great variability in biomass and consequently in habitats.
  • Important feeding ground for pelagic fish, especially herring, and possibly for whales.
  • On-site current measurements needed (collected in 2007-2008).
  • Registration and mapping of delicate habitats of benthic species needed (started in 2008),
  • No information on demersal fish in the area (investigated in 2009).