Take Rules for Navy Training Activities in the Gulf of Alaska Temporary Maritime Activities Area

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has issued regulations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to govern the unintentional taking of marine mammals incidental to the training activities conducted in the Gulf of Alaska Temporary Maritime Activities Area Study Area from May 2017 through May 2022. These regulations allow NMFS to issue a Letter of Authorization for the incidental take of marine mammals during the Navy’s specified activities and timeframes, set forth the permissible methods of taking, set forth other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat, and set forth requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of the incidental take. These regulations are effective April 26, 2017, through April 26, 2022.

OTC Conference

The International Association of Geophysical Contractors recently posted the following notice about the Offshore Technology conference, which is held Monday, May 01, 2017 – Thursday, May 04, 2017 CST, at NRG Park, Houston, Texas, USA:

“The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) is where energy professionals meet to exchange ideas and opinions to advance scientific and technical knowledge for offshore resources and environmental matters.

OTC is the largest event in the world for the oil and gas industry featuring more than 2,400 exhibitors, and attendees representing 120 countries.

DOSIT Special Session on “Incorporating Underwater Acoustics Research into the Decision Making Process”

DOSIT recently circulated the following notice:

“During the June 2017 joint meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) and the European Acoustical Association (EAA), in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, the Discovery of Sound in the Sea (DOSITS) project <http://www.dosits.org/> will host a special session for decision makers titled ‘Incorporating Underwater Acoustics Research into the Decision Making Process’.  This special session is sponsored by Animal Bioacoustics (AB) and co-sponsored by Acoustical Oceanography (AO), Education (ED), and Underwater Acoustics (UW).

The session will take place on the afternoon of Monday, June 26, 2017, and will include:

OCEANOISE2017

OCEANOISE2017 is hosted by the Laboratory of Applied Bioacoustics of the Technical University of Catalonia, BarcelonaTech.  It  will be held in Vilanova i la Geltrú, a small town (70.000 hab) located on the Mediterranean coast, at around 40km South from Barcelona, Spain. It will be held from May 8 through May 12, 2017. Program and registration information are available here.

South Atlantic Oil and Gas Restrictions

The International association of Geophysical Contractors posted the following article on its website:

“Trump Should Reverse Obama-Era South Atlantic Oil and Gas Restrictions

CARL BENTZEL   |   APRIL 7, 2017

In its waning days, the Obama administration took two actions to restrict potential offshore drilling off the South Atlantic coast. First, last March, in the final five-year schedule of OCS lease sales, the administration abandoned plans to open the coasts of Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia to offshore oil and gas drilling, reversing its position in an earlier issued draft proposal. Then, early this year, just in advance of the transfer to power to the Trump administration, the Obama administration announced it had denied six permit applications to conduct seismic exploration testing for oil and gas reserves in the South Atlantic Ocean.

NMFS’ Scheduled for Proposing GOM Take Rules

According to its last published notice, in April 2017 the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service intends to propose rules for “Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Conducting Geological and Geophysical Exploration of Mineral and Energy Resources on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico.” NMFS included the following “Abstract” in its notice:

BOEM Seeks Comments on Draft SEIS for GOM Lease Sales

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has published its Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf Lease Sale Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement 2018 (2018 Draft Supplemental EIS). The 2018 Draft Supplemental EIS provides an analysis of the potential significant impacts of a proposed action (a region wide lease sale) and reasonable alternatives to the proposed action. This Supplemental EIS is expected to be used to inform decisions on each of the two lease sales scheduled in 2018, and to be supplemented as necessary for future Gulf of Mexico region wide lease sales.

Health of Geophysical Industry Critical to Market Recovery

The International Association of Geophysical Contractors posted the following article on its website:

“Energy is one of the most important markets in the world, and the geophysical industry is the foundation of ensuring safe, affordable, and accessible oil and gas exploration and development. While OPEC’s landmark agreement at the end of the year to cut oil output boosted crude prices and optimism for some semblance of market certainty, no one can predict what the oil services market holds for 2017. One can be certain, however, that global energy demand will continue to increase, and that demand cannot be met without the geophysical industry.

SPE HSSE Conference

On April 18-20, 2017, at the Astor Crowne Plaza in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, the Society of Petroleum Engineers will conduct a conference on health, safety, security, and environmental challenges facing the E&P industry. Topics covered:

  • Environment
  • Emergency preparedness and response
  • HSE management
  • Safety and health
  • Security
  • Social responsibility

Click here for more details

CRE Comments on NOAA’s Offshore Seismic ICR

On March 15, 2017, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness filed comments on a Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) Information Collection Request (ICR) affecting offshore oil and gas seismic. This ICR asks The U.S. Office of Management and Budget to approve the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Application and Reporting Requirements for Incidental Take Authorizations for offshore oil and gas exploration. For reasons discussed in detail in our comments, CRE requested that if OMB approves this ICR, then they include the following Terms of Clearance:

i) This ICR approval does not authorize any use of NOAA’s new “Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing” (Acoustic Guidance).