Between 1992 and 1994, BP Exploration drilled ten wells from a single jacket at a depth of 393 meters in MMS Lease Block Viosca Knoll 989 (Pompano Phase I). Production began in October 1994. The second phase, utilizing a subsea template, was drilled between 1995 and 1997 at a depth of 565 meters in Mississippi Canyon Block 28, four miles downslope (Pompano Phase II). Both water based muds and synthetic muds were used. An additional well was drilled at Mississippi Canyon 28 in early 1998. This review describes the procedures used to survey the deepwater seafloor in July 1997 and March 1998 using a remote operated vehicle (ROV). Included are qualitative and quantitative sampling of the bottom sediment for chemical and benthic analyses using core samplers and videotransects for identification and enumeration of fish and large invertebrates.

The goals of this project were to document: the size and extent of the cuttings piles following two+ years of a multi-well development drilling program in the deep Gulf; the con-centrations of synthetic based drilling fluids (SBFs) in sediments around the drilling template; and the appearance of the bottom sediments with respect to chemical activity and densities of macrofauna and megafauna at the same locations. The main purposes of the follow-up study were to compare findings with those seen earlier and to identify changes in the structure of the local macrofauna and megafauna biological communities since the July 1997 survey. Results of both the 1997 and 1998 studies were compared to data collected at similar depths in the eastern and western Gulf during the MMS baseline studies conducted in the 1980s.

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