This regulation defines and establishes procedures and performance standards pertaining to petroleum operations in Equatorial Guinea, including exploration, evaluation, development, transportation, distribution, storage, refining, commercialisation and other related activities that fall under the Hydrocarbons Law.
It covers life-extensions for mature fields through mechanisms that enable operators to generate higher value. It also outlines provisions for the exploration of marginal and onshore fields; for investments in deep and ultra-deep-water areas; for the monetisation of gas; and for the further integration of the national workforce and local companies across the value chain.
Chapter XV regulates environmental protection and sanitation, health and safety. It specifically mandates the contractors and licensees to prevent pollution and protect the environment and to ensure that hydrocarbons are handled in a manner that is safe for the environment. The regulation establishes that environmental impact assessment studies are mandatory for major drilling operations, seismic work, and refining activities.
This regulation also has provisions regarding inspection powers, the possibility of enacting technical standards, due metering and recordkeeping, calibration and certification requirements, pertaining royalties and taxes, gas pricing procedures, the need to present data and information upon request, and applicable penalties and sanctions.
There is no particular mention to methane emissions, but the regulation strictly prohibits gas flaring, stating pertaining exceptions (Art.143). The Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy may only authorise flaring of associated gas upon submission of a duly substantiated technical, economic and environmental impact evaluation report evidencing that it is not feasible to use or preserve the natural gas. When flaring is authorised, the competent authority may determine that a fee be charged in accordance with the quantity and quality of the gas flared and with its location. Associated natural gas can be flared without the prior approval of this ministry if necessary, due to an emergency, provided that every effort is made to minimise and cease such flaring as soon as possible.
Moreover, the Ministry has the right to offtake, at the wellhead or from gas-oil separators, all natural gas that would otherwise be re-injected or flared. This law also stipulates that field development and production plans must always be formulated to allow for the use, conservation or commercial exploitation of associated gas (Art.149).