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World Service broadcast on mercury

Fri 29 November, 2013

Mercury is the bad-boy of the periodic table, often called ‘quicksilver’, it is both mesmerising and toxic as Professor Andrea Sella of University College London vividly explains. In […]

Global treaty on mercury pollution gets boost from United States

Thu 14 November, 2013

The United States has strengthened the international effort to bring down emissions and releases of a notorious heavy metal after simultaneously signing and ratifying the Minamata Convention on […]

The Minamata Convention on Mercury

Thu 17 October, 2013

More than 90 countries signed a treaty to limit mercury use and pollution at a United Nations conference in Kumamoto, Japan, on 10 October. The Minamata Convention on Mercury […]

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Energy Policy


A key goal of mercury policy is the reduction in mercury emissions, particularly to atmosphere. However, it is now recognised that the contribution of anthropogenic and natural emissions to our understanding of the global mercury budget is not sufficiently comprehensive to make accurate and confident assessments.


A recognised knowledge gap hindering the construction of mercury budgets is the release of mercury into the environment from the activities of the oil and gas industry. Consequently, the IKIMP initiative has produced a report synthesizing the knowledge available in the public domain to inform UK policymakers and regulators, and other stakeholders.

The report considers:

  • the quantities of mercury associated with the activities of the oil and gas industry in the UK, where it emerges in the chain of extraction, processing and use, and the species involved;
  • how the UK mercury content of oil and gas compares to that elsewhere in the world, including any reasons for observed differences; and
  • the significance of the mercury burden from the oil and gas industry in the UK for mercury emissions and management more generally.
  • A key, overarching conclusion of the study is that the paucity of data available in the public domain means that there are large uncertainties in the quantities of mercury contained in the oil and gas processed and used in the UK, and in consequent releases to the environment. These difficulties of estimation are exacerbated by substantial variations in the mercury contents of oil and gas derived from different sources.

    The final report is available for download.


    * Murray Gardner (Lead)
    * John Holmes
    * David Lang

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