Mercury Waste from Produced Gas

For information on the impact of Brexit on oil and gas environmental legislation, please refer to the pdf document downloadable from the Home Page.

Key Legislation:

 For more detail on the Legislation relevant to this page, please use the following links:

Guidance Notes:
Consent Needed No Consent is required, however the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero will regard the licensed Operator (i.e. the licence holder) as being responsible for ensuring that the provisions of the EU Mercury Regulation are complied with. Where the platform is operated on behalf of the licence holder by another company, the licence holder will need to assure itself that adequate measures are in place to meet the regulatory requirements.See the Reporting Requirements tab for regulatory obligations.
How to Apply N/A
Who to Apply to N/A
When to Apply N/A
Export of mercury: Exports of metallic mercury (Hg), cinnabar ore, mercury (I) chloride (Hg2Cl2), mercury (II) oxide (HgO) and mixtures of metallic mercury with other substances (including alloys of mercury with a mercury concentration of at least 95% by weight and the mixing of metallic mercury with other substances for the sole purpose of exporting metallic mercury from the EU is prohibited from 15 March 2011.It appears to be the case that offshore Operators do not export any mercury that is gained as a by-product of their operations, i.e. any quantities of mercury would be sent to onshore storage/disposal facilities. Consequently, the requirements of these Articles are not expected to have much (if any) impact on the offshore industry. Nonetheless, in the unlikely event that any Operators should decide to export outside the EU mercury obtained through operational processes (i.e. as a commercial product), then they would have to comply with the prohibition described above.
Mercury waste storage and disposal: Metallic mercury gained from the cleaning of natural gas is considered waste from 15 March 2011 and Operators that undertake such operations should ensure it is disposed of in a way that is safe for human health and the environment.A new EU Decision outlining requirements for the storage and handling of mercury waste is expected (see Pending Legislation). Until this time, operators should continue sending mercury waste to shore in line with guidelines on existing legislation for the containment/shipment of hazardous waste. The responsibility for ensuring the safe storage/disposal of such mercury would reside with the vendors taking delivery of it.
Sampling Requirements: None (also see the Reporting Requirements tab).
What to Report: Mercury Gained

  • Total annual quantity (in kg) of mercury gained from the cleaning of natural gas (i.e. the use of mercury extraction systems to remove mercury from natural gas so that it can meet pipeline specifications).
  • Total annual quantity (in kg) of any mercury that is sent to individual temporary or permanent storage / disposal facilities (including the location and contact details of these facilities) during the previous calendar year (i.e. 1 January to 31 December).

BEIS’s Offshore Inspectorate is anticipating these reports and will store them for the purposes of undertaking any future actions that may arise in respect to the EU or UK Mercury Regulations.

Reports should be made using Annex A (PDF document) of the BEIS (then DECC) Guidance Notes.

Import or Export of Mercury and/or Mercury Waste

If any Operators import mercury, and / or send mercury as waste to other EU Member States, then by 1 July 2012, they should send a report (using the form at Annex B (PDF document)) on the:

  • Total quantity, prices, originating country and destination country / area as well as the intended use of mercury entering the Community (with respect to `mercury imports’ these too would be subject to Registration in accordance with the EU REACH Regulation)
  • Total quantity, originating country and destination country of mercury considered as waste that is traded cross-border within the Community

However, it is highly unlikely that Operators would import mercury for operational use, and it is also conceivable that most (if not all) Operators would send mercury waste to storage/disposal facilities on the UK mainland – so these provisions are not expected to have much (if any) potential implications for the offshore industry.

Who to Report to: The European Commission
Pavlos Mouratidis
European Commission – DG Environment
BU-9 4/163
B-1049 BrusselsDepartment of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
Energy Development Unit (EDU)
Offshore Environment and Decommissioning Branch (OED)
Offshore Inspectorate (
4th Floor
86 – 88 Guild Street
AB11 6AR
When to Report: Mercury Gained: By 31 May each year.Mercury Import/Export: By 1 July 2012.
Penalties: If an offence under these Regulations committed by a body corporate is shown:
(a) to have been committed with the consent or connivance of an officer; or
(b) to be attributable to any neglect on the officer’s part, the officer as well as the body corporate is guilty of the offence and is liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.A fine imposed on a partnership or unincorporated association on its conviction of an offence under these Regulations is to be paid out of the funds of the partnership or association.A person guilty of an offence under these Regulations is liable:

  • On summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to imprisonment not exceeding three months, or both, or
  • On conviction on indictment, to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both.
None at present.