The oil and gas industry has been a dominant presence in the North Sea for over 50 years, and in that time has amassed a wealth of knowledge about the North Sea environment. As the industry begins to decommission its offshore structures, an important environmental and economic issue with competing priorities from a myriad of stakeholders, this information will be critical. The INSITE research programme aims to fill a key gap in our understanding of the role of man-made structures on the North Sea ecosystem. Comprehensive environmental datasets will be required to manage decommissioning activities sustainably and to facilitate future blue growth. The INSITE Data Initiative was tasked with the primary objectives: 1) to compile a list of known data sources and metadata relevant to understanding the role of structures in the marine environment; 2) to survey oil and gas operators to identify sources of environmental data that the industry has collected but is not widely available; and 3) to investigate mechanisms for long term data management and storage of industry environmental data and to make it more widely accessible. The team achieved these goals by creating a “Data Roadmap” Access database that details 74 identified data sources; a questionnaire survey of eight major oil and gas operators and two stakeholder workshops.

The work was funded as part of the INSITE research programme (www.insitenorthsea.org/about) funded by Oil and Gas UK.