Environmental impact assessment guidelines for offshore petroleum exploration seismic surveys

Open Access Peer Reviewed Publication 2015

Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal

The ocean environment is filled with natural sound, but the last century has introduced many anthropogenic activities that have increased the levels of noise. Research on the impact of anthropogenic noise on marine fauna is now extensive. Levels of threat are well defined. Mitigation and monitoring guidelines exist in many parts of the world; especially for offshore petroleum exploration. In many jurisdictions, these guidelines rely on environmental impact assessments (EIAs) consideration by decision-makers, yet few jurisdictions stipulate what such assessments should contain. Sound propagation in the marine environment is complex, yet robust and defensible modelling is rarely conducted. Many impact assessments are inadequately checked. This stands in contrast to the equivalent process for land-based assessments. We argue that defensible EIAs should include modelling of the proposed noise impact in the region and under the conditions of planned activity. We articulate why clear guidelines about the content of EIAs are needed and propose a template for offshore petroleum exploration assessment.

Link To Publication

Similar Research

Influences of man-made noise and other human actions on cetacean behaviour

Pay-walled Journal Article 1995

Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology

Behavioral reactions of cetaceans to man-made noises are highly variable, ranging from attraction (e.g. bow riding by dolphins) or no response through short-term changes in behaviour...
Read More

A Summary of Existing and Future Potential Treatments for Reducing Underwater Sounds from Oil and Gas Industry Activities

Pay-walled Conference 2007

OCEANS 2007

This paper summarizes the efforts undertaken by the author to identify existing and future potential methods to reduce underwater sound levels created by nearly all oil...
Read More

Influence of seismic surveys on western gray whales off Sakhalin Island, Russia in 2001

Open Access Report 2002

Publications, Agencies and Staff of the U.S. Department of Commerce

Western gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) aggregate off the northeastern coast of Sakhalin Island, Russia during summer-autumn to feed on benthic and near-benthic prey. During summer 2001,...
Read More

Effects of seismic energy releases on the survival and development of zoeal larvae of dungeness crab (Cancer magister)

Pay-walled Journal Article 1994

Marine Environmental Research

In blind, controlled field experiments, early Stage II zoeae of Dungeness crab (Cancer magister DANA) were exposed to sounds from single discharges of a 13·8-litre array...
Read More

Broadband spectra of seismic survey air-gun emissions, with reference to dolphin auditory thresholds

Pay-walled Journal Article 1998

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

Acoustic emissions from a 2120 cubic in. air-gun array were recorded through a towed hydrophone assembly during an oil industry 2-D seismic survey off the West...
Read More

Low-frequency whale and seismic airgun sounds recorded in the mid-Atlantic Ocean

Pay-walled Journal Article 2004

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

Beginning in February 1999, an array of six autonomous hydrophones was moored near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (35°N–15°N, 50°W–33°W). Two years of data were reviewed for whale...
Read More

Quantitative measures of air-gun pulses recorded on sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) using acoustic tags during controlled exposure experiments

Pay-walled Journal Article 2006

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

The widespread use of powerful, low-frequency air-gun pulses for seismic seabed exploration has raised concern about their potential negative effects on marine wildlife. Here, we quantify...
Read More

Criteria and Thresholds of U.S. Navy Acoustic and Explosive Effects Analysis.

Open Access Report 2012

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Systems Centre Pacific

Sounds produced from naval activities can be divided into seven categories: (1) Sonars and other active acoustic sources; (2) Explosive detonations; (3) Ship noise; (4) Aircrafts...
Read More

A brief overview of seismic air-gun arrays.

Open Access Journal Article 2000

The Leading Edge

This article summarizes salient points one must know about seismic air-gun arrays to discuss seriously how they might affect marine life. It is by no means...
Read More

Impacts of marine acoustic technology on the Antarctic environment.

Open Access Report 2002

SCAR ad hoc group on marine acoustic technology and the environment

Equipment using sound waves to investigate the sea bed and the water column are essential to the understanding of the Antarctic marine environment. At the same...
Read More