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Utilization of Remote Sensing and GIS Technology for Assessment of Baseline Environmental Sensitivity in the Indonesian Oil and Gas Industry
Utilization of proper technologies is needed to support oil and gas activities in areas where sensitive environments or competing land uses may be affected. This is particularly important as government policies and regulations are formulated and updated to implement the New Oil and Gas Act (UU No:22/2001 tentang Minyak dan Gas Bumi). Related issues now being considered include greenhouse gases (GHGs: CO2, NO, CH4, HFC, CFC, etc.), since the increasing amount of these gases in the atmosphere increases the earth temperature. Other related issues are: the ISO 14000-series (international standards which provide a framework for the development of an environmental management system and the supporting audit programme), Sustainable Development, impacts on local communities, and relationships with authorities in the framework of local autonomy.
This paper presents the application of Remote Sensing Technology in combination with a GIS (Geographic Information System) to create and monitor the baseline environmental sensitivity of areas surrounding oil and gas activities. The environmental sensitivity assessment involves studies of ecological, economic and social issues specific to areas that will be directly or indirectly affected by the industry. This method is a very suitable for application to frontier, mature or developed areas in both onshore and marine settings.
Case studies include areas of Offshore North West Java, East Java, and the Mahakam Delta in East Kalimantan. The assessment produces a map of environment sensitivity, which is classified with an index from low to high sensitivity. The map can be used (1) as a starting point for policy making, (2) to evaluate the impact of a certain activity if it is carried out, and (3) to minimize or prevent environmental damages and conflicts of interest caused by petroleum industry and other activities in the same area. A sensitive zone is dynamic, and changes can happen either very quickly or over long periods. The frequency of change determines how often the area should be monitored.
Utilization of remote sensing and GIS technology can be very valuable to the industry in assuming the environmental responsibility required by government regulations. These tools also help the industry prepare for long term success while gaining public trust in caring for the environment.
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