An objective approach to evaluate environmental management in the offshore oil industry in Timor Sea, East Timor
Do Carmo Da Silva, Jose Lucas
MetadataShow full item record
This research is undertaken as a new venture to explore potential environmental management approaches for the development of the oil industry in East Timor. Particular focus will be given to environmental legislations in order to assess the possible impacts and control of oil industry development in East Timor. The country has newly emerged in the past decade and is still heavily reliant on immediate development of oil resources in order to boost the country’s economic prospects. Environmental laws and regulation are, however, still in an embryonic stage. This research begins with a review of the Timor Sea environment, focusing on the natural resources of the region. This is followed by a review of the potential environmental impacts of the oil industry, as well as an assessment of the importance of Timor Sea habitats and the possible threats posed by the oil industry. Of course, oil industry development mostly takes place offshore therefore the second part of the study involved a pilot study to evaluate stakeholders’ views on the possible impacts of an oil refinery along the South Coast of Timor. Stakeholders were interviewed to gain insight into opinions on how the Timor Sea environment should be managed, and how a new country can raise the living standards of its people in equilibrium with the natural environment of the region. International and national environmental regulatory frameworks were reviewed, including numerous case studies from selected regions. Data collected from stakeholders was analysed, with multivariate and univariate statistical tests employed to assess the significance of differences in responses. Moreover SWOT analyses methods were employed to analyse different environmental frameworks and regulations discussed. The main discoveries of the study include: 1) Mangroves, shallow deep-water coral reefs, seagrass, intertidal shelter sediment and rock are of high value to the Timor Sea and South Coast. In terms of animal groups turtles, dugongs, cetaceans and seabirds are considered to be of high conservation importance, 2) As environmental data or information is limited secondary data was also sourced for this study, 3) Development of the oil industry poses possible threats to the marine environment in the Timor Sea region, although it is localised and transitory in nature, 4) Stakeholders suggested that development of the oil industry should go ahead, but environmental regulations should be in place, 5) Environmental regulations must be adequate and include essential legal components such as clear responsibility, flexible environmental permit system, as well as adequate sanctions for non-compliance and effective monitoring and enforcement processes. The bottom line conclusions of this study is that while economic development should go ahead, measures for environmental protection should also be in place.