Environmental genomics is a rapidly advancing field that promises to revolutionize the way in which industry conducts biodiversity monitoring. The International Association of Oil and Gas Producers Environmental Genomics Joint Industry Program (JIP) was formed in June 2019 with the aim of facilitating the development and uptake of environmental genomics within the oil and gas industry. Towards this goal, a white paper was produced that summarizes the state‐of‐the‐art in environmental genomics research, and the opportunities and limitations of applying environmental genomics within industry. The white paper included a comprehensive literature review, and importantly, involved consultation with professionals from academic, regulatory and industry backgrounds from across the globe that had expertise in environmental genomics applications. While this consultation revealed a consensus that the application of environmental genomics has advanced greatly in a brief period, with demonstrable benefits, there was an acknowledgement that key aspects are still lacking that would allow confident application of genomics approaches within industry.
Through the review and consultation process, a range of knowledge gaps and areas requiring further development were identified. To elucidate which of these areas were most critical to the successful application of environmental genomics within industry, the JIP is drafting guidance that describes sampling design considerations, minimum standards for laboratory analyses and approaches to genomics data interpretation. Through the drafting of guidance, the JIP hopes to determine which gaps are most critical, enabling these to be prioritised for targeted research. The guidance will then be updated regularly to capture the latest research outcomes.