Annex VI

​Prevention of pollution from offshore activities


Regulation 1: Definitions

For the purposes of this Annex:

1. "Offshore activity" means any exploration and exploitation of oil and gas by a fixed or floating offshore installation or structure including all associated activities thereon;

2. "Offshore unit" means any fixed or floating offshore installation or structure engaged in gas or oil exploration, exploitation or production activities, or loading or unloading of oil;

3. "Exploration" includes any drilling activity but not seismic investigations;

4. "Exploitation" includes any production, well testing or stimulation activity.

Regulation 2: Use of Best Available Technology and Best Environmental Practice

The Contracting Parties undertake to prevent and eliminate pollution from offshore activities by using the principles of Best Available Technology and Best Environmental Practice as defined in Annex II.

Regulation 3: Environmental impact assessment and monitoring

1. An environmental impact assessment shall be made before an offshore activity is permitted to start. In case of exploitation referred to in Regulation 5 the outcome of this assessment shall be notified to the Commission before the offshore activity is permitted to start.

2. In connection with the environmental impact assessment the environmental sensitivity of the sea area around a proposed offshore unit should be assessed with respect to the following:

a)  the importance of the area for birds and marine mammals;

b) the importance of the area as fishing or spawning grounds for fish and shellfish, and for aquaculture;

c) the recreational importance of the area;

d) the composition of the sediment measured as: grain size distribution, dry matter, ignition loss, total hydrocarbon content, and Ba, Cr, Pb, Cu, Hg and Cd content;

e) the abundance and diversity of benthic fauna and the content of selected aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons.

3. In order to monitor the consequent effects of the exploration phase of the offshore activity studies, at least those referred to in sub-paragraph d) above, shall be carried out before and after the operation.

4. In order to monitor the consequent effects of the exploitation phase of the offshore activity studies, at least those referred to in sub-paragraphs d) and e) above, shall be carried out before the operation, at annual intervals during the operation, and after the operation has been concluded.​

Regulation 4: Discharges on the exploration phase

 1. The use of oil-based drilling mud or muds containing other harmful substances shall be restricted to cases where it is necessary for geological, technical or safety reasons and only after prior authorization by the appropriate national authority. In such cases appropriate measures shall be taken and appropriate installations provided in order to prevent the discharge of such muds into the marine environment.

2. Oil-based drilling muds and cuttings arising from the use of oil-based drilling muds should not be discharged in the Baltic Sea Area but taken ashore for final treatment or disposal in an environmentally acceptable manner.

3. The discharge of water-based mud and cuttings shall be subject to authorization by the appropriate national authority. Before authorization the content of the water-based mud must be proven to be of low toxicity.

4. The discharge of cuttings arising from the use of water based drilling mud shall not be permitted in specifically sensitive parts of the Baltic Sea Area such as confined or shallow areas with limited water exchange and areas characterized by rare, valuable or particularly fragile ecosystems.

ReGulation 5: Discharges on the exploitation phase

In addition to the provisions of Annex IV the following provisions shall apply to discharges:

a) all chemicals and materials shall be taken ashore and may be discharged only exceptionally after obtaining permission from the appropriate national authority in each individual operation;

b) the discharge of production water and displacement water is prohibited unless its oil content is proven to be less than 15 mg/l measured by the methods of analysis and sampling to be adopted by the Commission;

c) if compliance with this limit value cannot be achieved by the use of Best Environmental Practice and Best Available Technology the appropriate national authority may require adequate additional measures to prevent possible pollution of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea Area and allow, if necessary, a higher limit value which shall, however, be as low as possible and in no case exceed 40 mg/l; the oil content shall be measured as provided in sub-paragraph b) above.

d)  the permitted discharge shall not, in any case, create any unacceptable effects on the marine environment;

e) in order to benefit from the future development in cleaning and production technology, discharge permits shall be regularly reviewed by the appropriate national authority and the discharge limits shall be revised accordingly.

Regulation 6: Reporting procedure

 Each Contracting Party shall require that the operator or any other person having charge of the offshore unit shall report in accordance with the provisions of Regulation 5.1 of Annex VII of this Convention. 

Regulation 7: Contingency planning

Each offshore unit shall have a pollution emergency plan approved in accordance with the procedure established by the appropriate national authority. The plan shall contain information on alarm and communication systems, organization of response measures, a list of prepositioned equipment and a description of the measures to be taken in different types of pollution incidents.

Regulation 8: Disused offshore units

The Contracting Parties shall ensure that abandoned, disused offshore units and accidentally wrecked offshore units are entirely removed and brought ashore under the responsibility of the owner and that disused drilling wells are plugged.​​

Regulation 9: Exchange of information

The Contracting Parties shall continuously exchange information through the Commission on the location and nature of all planned or accomplished offshore activities and on the nature and amounts of discharges as well as on contingency measures that are undertaken.