Frogs International
Environmental Management and Consultancy
Our projects

On this page we present a number of projects, which we led or played an active part in. Almost all date from the last twelve years. Most of these projects we carried out for or on behalf of Shell International Exploration and Production. They include projects internal to Shell, a number of joint industry projects of the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP), projects for PUM - Netherlands senior experts in Ukraine and Mongolia, and projects on the global availability of food with Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands and on remote sensing and environmental policy in conjunction with ITC - Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation at Enschede, the Netherlands.

General environmental management

We were primarily responsible for Shell EP's environmental policy and strategy, which includes biodiversity. This, of course was continued work on the existing policy and strategy. From the policy and strategy followed the need to develop global environmental management processes and procedures as part of Shell EP's HSE control framework.

Impact assessment

A global process and procedure on impact assessment was required for a number of reasons. First, the impact assessment process needed to move beyond addressing environmental aspects to include public and community health and social and socio-economic aspects. Secondly, it was felt that impact assessment of Shell EP's capital investment projects would benefit from an improved process to be applied globally. We delivered the impact assessment process and procedure early in 2006.

At the same time there were two other projects on impact assessment going on. The first was a Shell corporate approach on impact assessment, for which we were taking the lead. A documented standard was agreed in 2004 and this document formed the basis for the development of the EP global process and procedure.

Secondly, a Task Force of IOGP member companies was developing a tool to assist in impact assessment. The Task Force delivered a web-based and CD-ROM-based tool called e-SHRIMP (environmental, social and health impact management process) for capital investment projects. A report is available on-line and is intended not only to provide recommended checklists for the various stages of the impact assessment process but also to provide a common language for impact assessment for companies, impact assessment consultants and (engineering and construction) contractors. While the e-SHRIMP process is tailor-made for oil and gas exploration and production projects, it is equally applicable to any major development project. An upated overview, dated 2014, is also available. 

In order to roll out the Shell EP impact assessment process and procedure we developed with URS, Bopp Solutions and Birley Health Impact Assessment Associates a four-day knowledge-level course and a one-day awareness-level workshop. We ran the course successfully in 2007 and 2008 in Rijswijk and as an export course in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Seria (Brunei) and in Houston, Texas (USA). We also organised and ran an awareness-level workshop in Rijswijk for senior professional staff.

Value assurance review of investment projects

Shell carries out value assurance reviews for capital investment projects. These are done at the end of the various project development stages to assist the project's Decision Review Board to decide whether the project is ready to proceed to the next project development stage. We participated in a number of these reviews for Shell's exploration and production business as well as for Shell's gas and power business. Typically, our involvement was to make sure that the project team had addressed HSE, social performance and sustainable development adequately.

Naturally, this work ties in closely with the impact assessment work for such projects. Interestingly, we found that our focus on HSE, social performance and sustainable development quite often cut through to and led to a better focus of the actual business objectives of the projects in question.

Environmental data management and reporting

In 2001 and 2002 we helped the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria to map and manage their HSE performance data flow and to prepare for the external verification of this data. In 2004 and 2005 we managed the environmental performance data reporting (including external data verification) for Shell's exploration and production business.

From 2004 until 2008 we were part of OGP's environmental data reporting committee, which develops protocols for environmental data reporting for the exploration and production industry and coordinates data reporting. The most recent report, covering 2007 performance, may be downloaded from the OGP website. For the OGP workshop on environmental data reporting in Amsterdam in 2007, we conducted a questionnaire for OGP among OGP member companies and presented the results to the workshop.

Environmental learning and development

We have extensive experience in environmental learning and development. Our recent activities do not only comprise the development and delivery of the impact assessment awareness-level workshop and knowledge-level course referred to in the section on Impact assessment above.

In 2005 we reviewed and edited externally developed distance-learning courses on environmental management at the awareness and knowledge level for Shell International Exploration and Production. Since 2007 we deliver a full day session on environmental management at Shell's Health, Safety, Security and Environmental Tools and Techniques course, which covers environmental processes, biodiversity and natural resources, environmental quality standards and emission limits and environmental permitting and performance reporting. In addition, we run a half-day action learning session on impact assessment. Course participants score these sessions at over 90 per cent.

In addition, we have contributed consistently to general management courses in the exploration and production business by delivering contributions on HSE and sustainable development and participating in action learning exercises on these subjects.

YoungProfsNet: an international voluntary network of environmental and social practitioners

YoungProfsNet is an international voluntary network of environmental and social development practitioners.  In YoungProfsNet young environmental and social development professionals join forces to foster their professional development by working together on subjects and projects of common interest outside their direct sphere of work.  The emphasis will be on environmental and social development policy, strategy and management, on impact assessment regulations, procedures and practice, and on environmental and social development auditing and (value assurance) review.  Learning and development will focus on identifying and applying international best practice and on available environmental and social sustainability performance standards and guidelines. 

YoungProfsNet is an initiative of Eva Kimonye (Kenya) and Maarten Smies.  Our website is currently under construction.  We have an open group YoungProfsNet at LinkedIn.  Please feel free to join and participate. 

Environmental research

Earlier in 2008 we contributed to the development of a guidance manual for marine monitoring. This manual is developed for OGP member companies to assist them in setting up meaningful research programmes in relation to offshore exploration and production projects.

From 2005 onward we have been engaged in the Joint Industry Programme on EP Sound and Marine Life. This is a major research and development programme on sound from the offshore exploration and production industry. We were a member of the Phase 1 programme and took on the role of chair of the Executive Committee close to the conclusion of Phase 1. We were re-elected chair of the Executive Committee of Phase 2: the execution phase. In September 2007, we stepped down because our impending retirement from Shell International Exploration and Production.

"Green hotels" in Ukraine

In 2009 we joined the PUM - Netherlands senior experts programme, which is an organisation of (mostly) retired management experts, who offer their knowledge and experience to small and medium business enterprises and to organisations in developing economies. Clients pay for local costs while PUM (with Dutch governmental subsidies and private sponsorship) finances the travel costs of experts to carry out projects. Our first project was to help the Green Dossier NGO, which is an environmental and cultural awareness organisation in Ukraine, develop and implement an environmental management system and certification scheme for small hotels. Together with Green Dossier volunteer and regular staff, we reviewed the scheme that they had developed and together with one of the Green Dossier volunteer consultants proposed to fine-tune the schedule to enhance the potential business value benefits to participants of the schedule. Three years later, the schedule is up and running and a number of hotels in Ukraine have successfully applied for certification to one of the three grades of compliance.

Business development of an environmental management consulting company in Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia

In 2012 PUM asked us to go on a mission to work with an local environmental consulting company in Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia to to prepare them for and guide them to certification to the ISO 14001 environmental management system standard. We set out to work with this company to share with them the values of standard management system families, notably the ISO 14000 (environmental management)and ISO 9000 (quality management)families of standards and guidance. In addition, we gave a presentation on impact assessment of projects from the perspective of international mining companies, since the company's core business is to perform (environmental) impact assessments for mining and infrastructure projects to meet Mongolian regulatory requirements.

The underlying business issue however is the company's intended business development, which we discussed extensively. As a follow-up we submitted a proposal to the client for an implementation plan of the recommendations made by two PUM expert missions in 2011 (addressing mine closure planning and professional competency of staff) and in 2012 (our mission)). We also proposed that the client would develop a business development plan to chart its business future, for which they would take the lead to ensure ownership, but for which PUM would be prepared to act as an advisor.

Long-term global availability of food

From 2004 until 2008 we participated in a task force of Wageningen University and Research Centre on the global availability of food. The task force approached Shell with a request for input on scenario planning, which Shell uses to focus the development of robust business plans. In addition, we provided information on biofuels and performed a critical peer review role for the project.

The project results have been published in NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences in 2008.

This is the abstract of this special volume of NJAS:

During the 20th century hunger has become a problem of poverty amidst plenty rather than absolute food scarcity. The question is whether this will remain so or whether the hunger of the poor will once more be exacerbated by rising food prices. In this paper we discuss biophysical conditions, social forces and non-linear interactions that may critically influence the global availability of food in the long term. Until 2050, the global demand for primary phytomass for food will more than double, while competing claims to natural resources for other purposes (including biobased non-foods) will increase. A sober assessment of the earth's biophysical potential for biomass production, which recognises competing claims and unavoidable losses, suggests that this is in itself still large enough for accommodating this rising demand. However, the exploitation of this biophysical potential proceeds through technical paradigms that set a relative maximum to food production. In addition, socio-economic mechanisms make the food economy run up against a ceiling even before this maximum is reached. As a consequence, current developments may well entail a new trend change in international markets. These developments include the depletion of land and water reserves, the stagnation of the potential yields of major crops, the rise in energy prices, and the way in which systemic socio-economic factors lead to a strong underutilisation of production possibilities in the developing world. Given these conditions, the avoidance of steep rises in food prices may depend on the timely relaxation of socio-economic constraints in developing countries and on timely breakthroughs in sustainable yield increases, biorefinement and non-farm production systems. Myopic expectations make it doubtful whether spontaneous market forces will provide the necessary incentives for this, which may be reason for societal actors to consider the need for more active policies.

Remote sensing and environmental policy

Since the 1990s we exchanged ideas with Jan de Leeuw (then at ITC at Enschede, the Netherlands, since two years at the International Livestock Research Institute at Nairobi, Kenia) on remote sensing for environmental management applications. In consequence, we contributed to a recent publication on remote sensing and environmental policy in Remote Sensing in 2010:

This is the abstract of the article:

Limited awareness of environmental remote sensing’s potential ability to support environmental policy development constrains the technology’s utilization. This paper reviews the potential of earth observation from the perspective of environmental policy. A literature review of “remote sensing and policy” revealed that while the number of publications in this field increased almost twice as rapidly as that of remote sensing literature as a whole (15.3 versus 8.8% yr-1), there is apparently little academic interest in the societal contribution of environmental remote sensing. This is because none of the more than 300 peer reviewed papers described actual policy support. This paper describes and discusses the potential, actual support, and limitations of earth observation with respect to supporting the various stages of environmental policy development. Examples are given of the use of remote sensing in problem identification and policy formulation, policy implementation, and policy control and evaluation. While initially, remote sensing contributed primarily to the identification of environmental problems and policy implementation, more recently, interest expanded to applications in policy control and evaluation. The paper concludes that the potential of earth observation to control and evaluate, and thus assess the efficiency and effectiveness of policy, offers the possibility of strengthening governance.

Frogs International
Environmental Management and Consultancy

PO Box 96992
2509 JJ    Den Haag
(the Netherlands)

phone:  +31 70 326 8365
mobile: +31 6 2207 3021
skype:     maartensmies

Last updated on 23 June 2015