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Environmental Protection Department

Environmental protection plays a key part in managing risk within the organization. It is divided into three main functions:

1. Environmental

2. Occupational health

3. Community health

Environmental protection deals with ensuring compliance to regulations, improving performance, and exceeding standards. Using a cradle-to-grave approach, it is involved at the start of projects or any potential use of new land. It has already been involved in moving the physical sites of major projects due to environmental issues. Environmental protection looks at site selection and considers wastewater, offshore versus onshore, emissions, and so on. It focuses on audit and monitoring.

If there is a need or a focus on, for example, old infrastructure, then it will identify project management as a key stakeholder and involve that department for certain improvements. This is reported into the environmental master plan, which covers these specific issues and has assigned budgets. Any gaps that need to be filled will be undertaken within this instrument.

Environmental protection monitors oil spills, and any oil spill is considered unacceptable. An oil spill is any spill of oil that is not part of normal operations (e.g., sweeping oil off a rig into the ocean is an oil spill).

The department has already identified aging pipelines as the major cause of spills, and all aging pipelines will be replaced. It has independent reporting lines and authority. During a crisis it acts as a resource in an advisory capacity.

Change in regulation is managed through formal channels. MECO acts as an adviser to the ministries nationally for potential regulation, balancing the public's needs with MECO's needs. Environmental protection provides input into all national environmental council suggestions.

Internationally, MECO has full-time employees working with ministries to support them when in meetings at the United Nations and so on. The Ministry of Petroleum usually attends.

Environmental protection uses a 3 x 3 matrix for effort and impact but does not capture risks in a traditional risk register.


The law department currently has 25 or 26 members of staff within MECO. In most other major organizations, however, there can be hundreds of legal staff. There is an employee expansion initiative that will see an increase in legal staff of 50 percent over the next year.

Law gets involved with joint ventures, subsidiaries, government projects, and supporting due diligence. It plays a key part in contracts, as all contracts must be signed off by the law department.

The key functions are:

• Reviewing of contracts

• Setting up of contracts for joint ventures and so on

• In-country litigation and claims

• Out-of-country litigation and claims

• Antitrust (price fixing, etc.)

• Contract disputes

• Medical malpractice

• Tax and regulation

• Captives management

• Conflicts of interest/business ethics

• Patent filing and prosecution, mainly in the United States

• Boundary issues

• Mergers and acquisitions

• Aviation

• Corporate secretarial support for board, joint ventures, and so on

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