On May 19, 2016, the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee heard testimony about the US Department of the Interior’s proposed 2017-22 Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas program. The International Association of Geophysical Contractors reported the following testimony about Atlantic seismic:
“James H. Knapp, an earth, ocean, and environment professor at the University of South Carolina, who said he has been a vocal advocate for the past 8 years for gathering fresh Atlantic OCS seismic data. ‘More than 240,000 miles of 2D seismic data were acquired along the Atlantic OCS between the 1960s and 1980s,’ he testified. ‘Nothing new has been added since as other uses have grown there. I would challenge the assumption that no new data are necessary. The federal government is mandated to evaluate the OCS resource potential. If a lease sale is considered anytime in the future, we should see whether it’s even necessary.’
Knapp discussed another reason to proceed with Atlantic OCS seismic surveys. ‘In today’s world, we learn more about one continental margin when we look at an opposing one,’ he said. ‘Since the West African continental shelf is awash with oil activity, I believe it would be prudent to see if this might be possible here.’
BOEM’s Hopper replied, ‘We actually have used some of those analogous coasts, such as Africa, in updating our estimates.’ The agency issued a record of decision in July 14 to begin permitting such activity, ‘but there have been delays,’ she continued without elaborating.
But International Association of Geophysical Contractors Executive Vice-Pres. Walt Rosenbusch said in March that longer-than-normal delays in getting incidental take authorizations from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service are keeping several of his association’s members from going to work out there (OGJ Online, Mar. 14, 2016).”