The Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) and Merlon International Inc. operate a producing oil and gas field in Fayoum Governorate under the joint venture, Petrosilah. For funding purposes from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the bank retained D’Appolonia S,p.A. to provide environmental and social consultancy services in connection to provision of the required loan. Accordingly, a number of areas requiring external assistance to satisfy the EBRD Performance Requirement 6 (PR6) were identified, including the preparation of a Biodiversity Impact Assessment (BIA) for the project area and surroundings.
Environics was commissioned to prepare the Biodiversity Impact Assessment (BIA), with a focus on Critical Habitat Assessment.
Information and data on the wider area were gathered from previous direct observations, published material, reports and from recent studies performed by Environics and other entities.
More accurate contemporary data and information on the biodiversity of the Project concession and its immediate surroundings, Area of Influence (AoI), were mainly obtained from a meeting with Lake Qarun Protectorate’s staff and a rapid biodiversity field survey, which included both floral and faunal investigations.
Given the extent of the project area, an initial assessment based on analysis of satellite images was carried out before undertaking the field survey. A map with the proposed route to be followed was prepared and a number of locations, representing the different habitat types, were selected for field investigations.
As per EBRD PR6 requirements, it was necessary to verify if the area qualifies as Critical Habitat. A Discrete Management Unit (DMU) was identified and the presence of critical habitats within the DMU has been assessed. The presence of critical habitats within the DMU was assessed through a screening of biodiversity features against EBRD / IFC Critical Habitat Criteria. This was followed by an assessment of potential project impacts in relation to modified, natural and critical habitats, protected and recognized areas, and alien invasive species, as well as other ecological species and features within the Project’s Area of Influence (AoI).
A Management Plan has been developed to include a set of mitigation, management and monitoring measures in order to reduce significant negative impacts on the ecology of the area to acceptable levels.
It also included specific conservation actions to deal with potential residual impacts on species and features of particular concern.