The International Association of Geophysical Contractors published the following summary of IAGC’s Fact Sheet on Atlantic seismic surveys:
- “It has been more than 30 years since the U.S. has explored the Atlantic for oil and natural gas energy resources. Approximately 80%of the proposed mid- and south Atlantic lease planning areas has never been surveyed.
- There are currently eight Geological and Geophysical (G&G) permits pending with BOEM for the Atlantic OCS; six of these are for seismic surveys, TGS, GXT (ION), WesternGeco, CGG, Spectrum, and PGS. With the exception of PGS (3D), all seismic surveys proposed are for 2D seismic.
- On July 23, 2014, the BOEM published its Record of Decision (ROD) for Proposed G&G activities in the Mid- and South Atlantic, culminating a four-year review evaluating the assumed environmental effects of seismic and other G&G survey activities proposed on the Atlantic coast. The ROD formally triggered the BOEM’s consideration of permits for G&G activities.
- There are many prerequisites and steps to obtaining permits from the BOEM, including site-specific environmental assessments and consultation pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. In the Atlantic ROD, the BOEM made permit approval contingent on the permit applicant also obtaining a Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) authorization from NOAA Fisheries, ensuring the proposed surveys will have no more than a negligible impact on marine mammal stocks.
- Five companies (TGS, ION, WesternGeco, CGG & Spectrum) have pursued their MMPA authorizations or Incidental Harassment Authorizations (“IHA”), many submitting applications immediately following the July 2014 ROD.
- NOAA Fisheries did not deem these IHA applications complete until July 2015. NOAA Fisheries proposed IHAs for these five surveys in June 2017.
- It has been nearly three years since NOAA Fisheries recognized IHA applications for seismic surveys on the Atlantic OCS as “final and complete” and nearly four years since the BOEM signed its ROD for Atlantic OCS proposed G&G activities.”
Click here to read IAGC’s entire Fact Sheet.