Energy global-01Energy Global Oilfield Technology | June 23, 2016 | Gail Adams Jackson

Gail Adams Jackson, Sound and Marine Life, explains how new research is increasing scientific understanding of the effects of the oil and gas industry on marine life.

Limiting the potential impact of oil and gas activities on the environment and creating effective regulation should be based on a robust body of scientific evidence and research. This is especially true when it comes to understanding the impact of exploration and production (E&P) sound on marine life, a present topic of concern. The E&P Sound & Marine Life (SML) JIP was established to support scientific research to increase technical knowledge of the actual effects of the industry sound on marine life.

The SML JIP, under the auspices of the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP), is a partnership of 12 oil and gas companies and the International Association of Geophysical Contractors (IAGC). It is currently the largest non-governmental funder of research on this topic, having committed to date US$55 million. In its 11 year history, research funded by the SML JIP has resulted in the publication of more than 30 reports and over 70 peer reviewed papers by independent scientists.

Although financially supported by E&P companies, the research is carried out by independent researchers who receive contracts through a competitive proposal process based on the methods used by the US National Science Foundation through an anonymous external review process. SML JIP policies require that all research is to be shared in public reports and published in peer-reviewed scientific journals to ensure maximum transparency and value to the wider research and regulatory communities.

To advance understanding of the interaction between sound from oil and gas operations and marine life, the SML JIP identifies and commissions research to:

  • Support planning of E&P projects and risk assessments.
  • Provide the basis for appropriate operational measures that are protective of marine life.
  • Inform policy and regulatory development.

This article outlines four different areas of research the SML JIP has funded. These include the hearing abilities of sea turtles, the effect of seismic pulses on the hearing ability of dolphins, an improved tag to help measure the behavioural response of wild animals to passing seismic vessels, and the measured horizontal output of single seismic sources and clusters in terms of the frequencies and sound levels they produce.

Read the full article here.

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