EOSCA Concerned Over Possible Microplastic Restriction

28 March 2018

The EU REACH Regulation authority "ECHA" have initiated a Call for evidence on the use of intentionally added microplastic particles in products of any kind.  This could lead to heavy controls or even bans being placed on the marketing and use of products containing microplastics, and the Oil and Gas industry are specifically named as an industry of concern.

EOSCA, the European Oilfield Speciality Chemicals Association, in association and cooperation with IOGP and OSPAR national Contracting Parties has taken the lead in asking its members and all chemical suppliers to the industry to support collating the relevant data required to respond to the ECHA call for evidence and comments in time for the 11th May consultation deadline.

Chemical companies supplying the oil and gas industry are requested to contact EOSCA and support the confidential data gathering exercise by 13th April, so that EOSCA can assess the data and product non-confidential summary data reflecting the extent of the use and discharge of microplastics in the offshore industry.

Definition of a microplastic:

The European Commission's working definition of a microplastic (from their June 2017 working group) is being used, rather than the broader and more general description used by ECHA, because the former is more scientifically defensible and more relevant to the oil and gas industry, the descriptors are:

  • Synthetic polymer
  • Containing (semi) solid particle (20°C)
  • Water-insoluble
  • Smaller than 5 mm (in largest dimension)

All chemical suppliers to the Oil & Gas industry are requested to contact EOSCA without delay, for further information and to support the data gathering exercise, as well as to consider the ECHA consultation and to respond independently to the microplastics consultation.