Reducing the environmental impact of offshore operations is one of the most pressing challenges facing the oil and gas industry in Europe today. A study was conducted to review the issues by literature search, and consultation with stakeholders and experts. It was clear from the literature search that considerable research had been dedicated to: protecting the marine environment; achieving compliance with legislative controls; assessing the technical and economic feasibility of platform disposal options; and ecological surveying. By comparison, considerably less research had been carried out in other important areas such as: assessing the impacts wastes returned to shore for disposal; identifying sustainable strategies for operations; and assessing and mitigating against adverse impacts from atmospheric emissions. It is clear that the environmental regulatory regime offshore will become tougher and have an increasing influence on offshore oil and gas field environmental planning and management. Future regulatory developments include: a streamlining of the offshore oil and gas environmental regulatory regime; the introduction of the Habitats Directive into the licensing system; and the Offshore Combustion Installations (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Regulations 1999. In addition, post Kyoto regulatory developments and societal concern over atmospheric pollution, will increasingly focus efforts on reducing the emission of global warming gases. These changes, coupled with the uncertainty over how resilient the environment is to perturbation, present a need to clearly manage environmental information.