We have performed a wide variety of short-term surveys to assess the environmental condition of facilities, oil and gas fields and pipelines, including develop of due diligence reports related to property transfers, and risk analyses for pipelines, drilling operations and marine transport

    See also:

    • Environmental and Social Impact Assessments.
    • Spill Assessment and Management (using Incident Command System - ICS),
    • Emergency Response Contingency Planning,
    • Environmental Sensitivity Analysis and Mapping,
    • Erosion and Coastal Zone Management, and
    • Training in Spill Science, Management and Environment.
Environmental Conditions and Risk Assessment, 80 km Copper Concentrate Slurry Pipeline, Chile
2009-2010, Minera Los Pelambres (MLP), Santiago

MLP PipelineAs part of a total review of their pipeline operations and response capabilities to develop a comprehensive Pipeline Integrity Management System and associated Best Management Working Methods, E-Tech participated in a multifaceted review of the MLP copper slurry and mineral waste pipeline systems (3 lines, 7 inch, 28 inch and 36 inch), including operational controls, previous incidents, and response capabilities. The pipeline system runs from mining operations in the Andes to a coastal export terminal.

After the initial review, we lead a Workshop in Spanish to analyze total pipeline risk. Participants were comprised of PSI (Pipeline Systems Inc.) pipeline engineers, environmental contractors, and MLP supervisory staff. Concrete recommendations were provided to improve and monitor the slurry pipeline system.

Gas Pipeline Environmental Risk Analysis and Response Plan, Bolivia
2001, PetroBras (EcoNat, Santa Cruz)

The group Andino (comprised of Repsol-YPF, PetroBras andBolivia gas pipeline TotalFinaElf) planned to construct a 30-inch, 420 km pipeline from the San Pablo gas field in southern Bolivia to link in Santa Cruz with the major gas pipeline to Brazil.  The planned capacity of the line is 24 million cubic feet per day, coming online in 2004 at a cost of $300 million.  This project, lead by EcoNat of Santa Cruz and Buenos Aires,provided the Environmental Impact Analysis for submission to the Bolivian Ministries.

In addition to providing technical advice on the submission, the Contingency Plan and Risk Analysis were prepared especially for the project.  Both components were developed to reflect the three life stages of the project after design: construction, operation, and de-commissioning.

All plans were prepared in Spanish.

Environmental Review / Due Diligence, Several Oil Fields, Azerbaijan
Private Client

AzerbaijanPrior to purchase of several oil fields in Azerbaijan, Dr. Gundlach led a field team to investigate more than 70 specific sites including abandoned, inactive, and producing wells; gathering facilities, tanks, and tank-truck filling terminals; field work camps and associated infrastructure; machine and repair shops; a major tank farm/terminal (SOCAR), produced water/oil lagoons and pipelines.

Principal issues of environmental concern included leaking oil and gas wells and pipelines; oil stained or soaked sediments immediate around the wellhead; oiled mud pits (either containing liquid oil/water or dried oil/mud); large oily water lagoons associated with a few wells and/or separation facilities, tanks, or tank-truck loading terminals; small quantities of wood or metal debris (pipe, wire, etc) or concrete rubble; large blocks of concrete next to older wells; indiscriminate disposal of drilling mud (mostly hematitic), which has damaged vegetation present and inhibits recovery. 

For each problem set, specific methods for the cleanup and recovery of damaged areas were itemized.

Environmental Due Diligence of U.S. Dredging Operations
1995, Private Client

As part of the purchase of one of the world's largest dredging corporation, Dr. Gundlach conducted a review of dredging impacts from projects undertaken along the coasts of the United States.  Specialists in industry and the government were interviewed concerning all environmental aspects of the dredging operation.  Of most common concern was the placement of contaminated sediments in unlined and open disposal sites.  Other issues concerned the presence of pipes and cables left behind after the completion of the project.  In rarer instances, sediment was discharged into the wrong location.  In a few instances legal actions had to be taken to ensure conformance with standard procedures to protect the environment.

Environmental Review / Due Diligence, Neuquen Basin Oil Field, Argentina
Private Client, Buenos Aires / Canada)

A field assessment was undertaken prior to purchase of this oil field. Several environmental concerns were noted, including ineffective disposal of produced water, open oil waste pits, pipe leakage, and overall waste disposal practices. The condition of the Field compared favorably to over 30 other fields that had been previously reviewed. Neuquen Argentina

Environmental Audit of Iron Ore Mining, Transport and Smeltering Operations, Chile
1994-1995,CMP, Santiago

An intensive environmental due diligence assessment of all facilities associated with major mining and mineral processing operationsChile Export was undertaken in Chile. Issues evaluated included facility environmental compliance, impacts, and risks with respect to facility air emissions, ground and surface water contamination, facility impacts to agricultural and ecological resources, solid and hazardous waste management, air and water pollution control systems, railway and port operations, on-site health and safety, and environmental monitoring. 

Both Chilean and international standards for protection of human health and the environment, as well as accepted best-management practices with regard to air and water quality and ecological resources, were utilized to provide a series of detailed findings and to environmental management recommendations. In addition to solely technical issues, the team also reviewed and recommended specific actions to develop both corporate and facility environmental management programs.

The audits, conducted in Spanish, included:
  • five major open pit mines,
  • iron and steel plants,
  • dry and wet processing and concentration facilities,
  • almost 200 km of rail system,
  • numerous workshops and maintenance areas,
  • solid and organic waste disposal areas, storage and stockpile areas,
  • three major port facilities involving export/import of bulk cargo as well as petroleum fuel products, and
  • numerous tank storage areas.

Analysis and Remediation Options for Oily Waste Lagoons, Venezuela

This multi-stage project was undertaken to assist PDVSA in finding solutions to the disposal of oily waste developed in the fields in and around Lake Venezuela_oily_LagoonMaracaibo, including the elimination of several large oil waste lagoons in the area. Led by CDM, the assessment first included chemical and topographic analyses of the waste lagoons, followed by the technical and economic evaluation of the best methods for disposal. Based on oil spill treatment experience, specific advice was provided as to potential disposal techniques.

Environmental Audit and Treatment Recommendations of Waste Pits, YPF Operations, Argentina
1991-1995, YPF / CCIC, Buenos Aires

Assessments of over 15 oil development areas were conducted in Argentina, including environmental impacts, cleanup and remediation needs, and follow-up monitoring. These projects were conducted in several phases. Work included reviewing:

  • over 250 waste pits associated with drilling and production operations,
  • over 75 major oil and oil/process water lagoons, and
  • 15 solid waste disposal areas.

Key tasks included determining immediate impacts, recommending treatment / remediation, and monitoring progress in the implementation of the cleanup and remediation program. In 1995, monitoring the YPF facilities in the Neuguen basin in central Argentina found that over 80% of the waste pits and 60% of the large oil and brine lagoons had been treated and closed or lined. Treatment methods for the lagoons and waste pits were practical and able to be implemented, primarily focusing on:

  • Collecting all liquid product to a central lined receiving pit lined with controlled access
  • Separating by surface crude oil by weirs (e.g., API-style separators) or direct surface skimming
  • Placing separated in crude into the transport pipeline for refining
  • Processing sludge material by mixing primarily with available soil and land-farming, or by placing and compacting as road bed (in semi-arid climate)
Waste pits and lagoons were closed by first mixing any remaining material with soil and then by in-filling and compacting the excavation with soil.

Environmental Risk of Non-Crude Marine Transport, Alaska
Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation

This project provided an in-depth analysis of the risk potential from non-crude tankers and barges AlaskaRiskMapoperations in all of Alaska.   A GIS/database was developed to store and retrieve information related to:

  • Shoreline sensitivity - highlighting sensitive marsh and tidal flat areas;
  • Socioeconomic areas of importance - primarily protected federal and state parks, refuges, and monuments;
  • Major bird colonies - containing over 30,000 nesting birds;
  • Seal and walrus concentrations and subsistence hunting grounds;
  • Volume-based transport routes of non-crude oil barges and tank ships;      
  • Location and estimated volume of shore-based non-crude oil terminals and transfer facilities; and
  • Sites and volumes of non-crude spills greater than 1,000 gallons from vessel.

Using the GIS to review various route and environmental sensitivities, response capabilities were prioritized for the various ADEC regions.  Specific equipment recommendations were made to augment existing capabilities and, where absent, to provide a meaningful stockpile of equipment to respond to regionally based incidents.  Also reviewed were the methods available for responding to oil spills as well as liability limits related to the size of cargo loss and potential spill location.

Additional tasks included a full analysis of tanker and barge characteristics, ownership, spill and response characteristics, accident rates, detailed spill response capabilities and location in the Pacific Northwest, and an evaluation of on-board response capabilities for non-crude vessels in Alaska.  This information was used by Alaska to assist development of spill-response requirements.


Gundlach, E.R. and G.M. Harben.  1993.  Non-crude oil transport and Environmental Risk, State of Alaska. 1993 International Oil Spill Conference, American Petroleum Institute.

Gundlach, E.R.  1991.  Non-crude vessel study; environmental risk, vessel owner database, spill occurrence database, response depot location and equipment evaluation, and vessel response requirements (5 reports).  Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.  approx. 350 pp.

Environmental Evaluation of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Spill, Brooks Range, Alaska
Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation

A field survey and analysis was conducted to determine the probable amount of oil lost from a spill incident that occurred in June along theAtiganPass Trans-Alaska Pipeline at Milepost 66, just north of the Continental Divide of the Brooks Range.  The objectives of the study were to determine (1) the distribution of remaining oil, (2) the surface area of flooded or low-lying willows that may have accumulated oil, (3) the number of vegetated and non-vegetated channels that were likely to have been oiled, and (4) the extent of probable oiling of the thaw bulb at the pipeline break.  The best estimate was that slightly less than 1500 barrels was lost to the environment.

Environmental Audit of Pollution Controls at Petroleum Facilities, Nigeria
Ministry of Petroleum Resources

Under sponsorship of the Nigerian Government (The Petroleum Inspectorate, (now the Ministry of Petroleum Resources), an intensiveNigeriaFlaring, four-week program of facility inspections and review was conducted at over 100 facilities, including:

  • offshore platforms and storage vessels,
  • onshore pipelines and pump stations,
  • gathering stations, producing wells,
  • injection wells, refineries, tank farms, and
  • export terminals.

Detailed information was obtained and reported on concerning pollution-control equipment to control operational oily discharges and for emergency response.  Major operators participating in the study included AGIP, African Petroleum, Mobil, Nolchem, NNPC, Texaco, Total, and Unipetrol.  The written report described existing conditions and made specific recommendations for improvement.

Environmental Risk of Petroleum Transport, NE United States
Private Client

This project was to determine the relative environmental risks associated with routing of 500 to 600 tankers and barges transporting oil products along the northeast coast of the United States.  Using a statistical database, the likelihood of releases as well as potential costs (cleanup and natural resource damages) was calculated.

Environmental Risk from Tanker Transport, Arabian Gulf
Private Client

For a major pipeline manufacturer Dr. Gundlach researched all tanker traffic, ports-of-call, and accident statistics to determine probable spill location and size.  Detailed graphics were prepared indicating tanker routes and probable spill occurrences.