The Oil and Gas Industry and Ocean Noise

The oil and gas industry is a substantial contributor to ocean noise pollution. Almost all of their activities contribute in some way to the disruption of natural ocean soundscapes. Seismic Surveys are continually being conducted in the world’s oceans in search of undiscovered fossil fuel deposits. In addition, once those deposits are found, the creation of the infrastructure necessary to access them such as drilling, platform and pipeline construction creates even more disruptive underwater noise pollution.

Airgun Arrays are used to echo locate such deposits beneath the sea floor. These “explosions” of sound are extremely loud and are usually detonated less than a minute apart with surveys often lasting several months at a time.

Imagine if you are a whale nursing your calf through icy waters to warmer climbs. You rely on sound to communicate with the rest of the pod and to find your way. But for every minute of the journey you hear THIS! Airgun-and-Echosounders

Unfortunately, the use of Airgun Arrays and similar technology for the location of fossil fuel deposits is especially acute along the critical migration routs of many whale species like the Gulf of Mexico, the Persian Gulf and the North Sea.

Ocean Conservation Research – Shedding Light on Ocean Noise

OCR seeks to understand the impacts of human generated noise on marine life – using our understanding to inform ocean policy and practice.
Of concern are the noises generated by underwater communication, military sonar, seismic airgun surveys, seafloor oil and gas processing, and shipping noise, and the impacts on cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises), pinnepeds (seals and sea lions), fish, and marine invertebrates.

OCR has released a document called, “Oil and Gas Development on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)”

ocean conservation research mining and ocean noiseThis document gives and excellent explanation of exactly how offshore mining activities propagate ocean noise. Download it HERE. Be sure to visit their website