Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Industry to whales: Can you hear us?

The oil and gas industry is very diligently studying how sounds associated with underwater exploration and production activities might influence marine life such as various types of whales.

Meanwhile, the US Minerals Management Service this year issued a notice that it’s considering evaluating potential environmental effects of geophysical activities on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf.

E&P Sound and Marine Life is the name of an ongoing joint industry program (JIP) that includes 13 oil companies and the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers. JIP participants are Anadarko Petroleum Corp., BG Group, BHP Billiton, BP PLC, Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, Eni SPA, ExxonMobil Corp., Santos, Royal Dutch Shell, StatoilHydro, Total SA, and Woodside Petroleum Ltd.

In October 2008, scientists attending a JIP program review meeting in west Houston filled a hotel ballroom. They described their progress in studying underwater noise level related to offshore exploration, development, production, and decommissioning activities.

Their conclusion was that a lot still has to be learned about the hearing systems of whales and whether E&P activities influence their behavior.

MMS scheduled a Mar. 23 deadline for accepting public comments on a proposed programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) to cover Atlantic seismic acquisition. Multiple applications for offshore seismic permits prompted the MMS to consider a PEIS, and the agency is seeking input from industry on the scope of the PEIS.

If a PEIS is funded and started in early 2009, MMS estimates the PEIS could be completed by late 2010. Without funding, completion of PEIS is uncertain.

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March 28, 2017 at 10:28 PM  

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