The offshore oil and gas industry uses sound in seismic surveys to study submarine geology. Sounds emitted in seismic exploration surveys have attracted regulatory attention in a number of jurisdictions. In response to this, and following publication of an initial position statement, member companies of OGP along with the International Association of Geophysical Contractors (IAGC) embarked on a Joint Industry Project to study the potential impacts of sound from the E&P industry on all aspects of marine life; marine mammals, fish and reptiles. The first phase of research established the gaps in our current knowledge. The second phase which started in May 2006 has 14 participating companies plus IAGC, contributing around $8 million in each of three years (2006-2008) to identify and conduct fundamental research to address these gaps. Research is being commissioned in 6 broad topic areas:

  • Source characterisation and propagation;

  • Physical physiological and hearing effects;

  • Behavioural reactions and biologically significant events;

  • Mitigation and monitoring;

  • Research tools;

  • Communication of results.

By the second half of 2007 more than 30 research contracts have been commissioned amounting to ﹩12 million expenditure. Results of the programme will be published in peerreviewed journals and will subsequently be released through a publicly accessible data archive.

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