A study by OSC has found the underwater Sound Exposure Level (SEL) produced from drill-rig conductor hammering is within the threshold limit issued by the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA).
The study, which was presented at the Euro Noise conference in Maastricht, June, 2015, and written in collaboration with Southampton Solent University, measured underwater noise created by drilling-rig conductor hammering. The SEL measured at 750 m was less than 160 dB re 1 µPa, the threshold value issued by the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA), therefore suggesting this threshold is realistic and practical for conductor hammering. Additionally, due to the often-short duration of conductor hammering in comparison to other industry sound sources, such as pile driving for windfarms and seismic surveys, drill-rig conductor hammering is unlikely to have long-term negative impacts on harbour porpoise in the North Sea.
OSC will be attending the A Community on Ecosystem Services (ACES) conference, to be held from 5-9 December 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida, USA. The conference focuses on linking science, practice and decision-making around sustainability and ecosystem services.
One of our founding Directors, Dr Victoria Todd, will be a panel member in Session 49 on Thursday afternoon, entitled ‘Do offshore oil and gas platforms and infrastructure provide valuable ecosystem services?’ The discussion session will explore the capacity of offshore oil & gas (O&G) platforms and associated subsea infrastructure to provide ecosystem services – recent research indicates that offshore structures can create reef systems and support a variety of marine mammal populations – and decommissioning options. Net Environmental Benefit Analyses (NEBA) are a useful and currently under-used tool to evaluate the best options for decommissioning of these structures, whilst making use of the latest scientific data and case studies.
See you there!
The fourth international The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life conference (AN2016), held 10–15 July 2016 in Dublin, Ireland, was attended by Dr Victoria Todd and Ian Todd, two of OSC’s directors.
Research on a wide range of topics was presented from academic, industry and regulatory perspectives, leading to interesting exchanges of ideas and discussions. OSC was, of course, interested in the marine-mammal-related research being presented, but was equally fascinated by the presentations and posters covering noise levels around certain activities (e.g. pile-driving, shipping, wire-cutting), impacts of noise on fish, and noise mitigation, all of which intertwine with OSC’s own research focus.
Conferences such as AN2016 which cover many topics around the central theme of impacts of noise are always of interest as they provide valuable new perspectives on ongoing research and enable scientists (from both industry and academia) to follow the latest research in associated fields.
Jason Gedamke (from NOAA) presenting
Written by OSC’s Dr Victoria Todd, Ian Todd, Jane (Gardiner) Warley and Erica (Morrin) Chapman, the Marine Mammal Observer and Passive Acoustic Monitoring Handbook is the ultimate guide for mitigation measures to minimise man-made acoustical and physical disturbances to marine mammals from industrial and defence activities. It is the first of its kind, the only comprehensive guide available for new and experienced Marine Mammal Observers (MMO) and Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) Operators, and it has just been dubbed the bible for the industry in its latest review, published in Marine Mammal Science.
The Marine Mammal Observer and Passive Acoustic Monitoring Handbook, available to purchase from Amazon now.
To quote the Handbook itself ‘the authors believe that everything in life has the capacity for improvement’, and the Handbook is no exception. Feedback is always welcome. To send your comments, please email email@example.com.
OSC’s new paper ‘Meals on wheels? A decade of megafaunal visual and acoustic observations from offshore Oil & Gas rigs and platforms in the North and Irish Seas’ was published by PLoS One this month, and is available to download here.
The paper presents a decade of visual and acoustic detections of marine megafauna around offshore Oil & Gas (O&G) installations in the North and Irish Sea. Marine megafauna activity was monitored visually and acoustically by Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) qualified and experienced Marine Mammal Observers (MMO) and Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) Operators respectively, with real-time towed PAM in combination with industry standard software, PAMGuard. Monitoring was performed during routine O&G industrial operations for underwater noise mitigation purposes, and to ensure adherence to regulatory guidelines.
This study compliments OSC’s previous research on porpoises around O&G installations, and provides further evidence that marine megafauna are present around mobile and stationary offshore O&G installations during routine operational activities.
Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) around the legs of an O&G installation in the North Sea
This week Ian and Victoria Todd and Erica Chapman attended the New Zealand Petroleum Conference, held in Auckland between 20-22nd March. More information about the conference is available here, www.petroleumconference.nz.
All three presented at the conference, with a photograph below of Ian and Erica presenting their talk entitled ‘’Enhancing oil & gas exploration activities with Māori culture and creating career pathways – iwi Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) and Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) training course’.
More photos of the conference and New Zealand are up on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/OSCLtd.
The 8th Annual Decommissioning & Abandonment Summit, is taking place currently (23-25 February 2016) in Houston, Texas (www.decomworld.com/decommissioning). Whilst not attending the conference in person, Dr Victoria Todd has put together a video that discusses OSC’s 12-year on-going research program on marine mammals and decommissioning in the North Sea. Subsea structures host marine communities, and are as such attractive foraging grounds for marine mammals, which is demonstrated through OSC’s acoustic research which has indicated that harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) are feeding around Oil and Gas rigs and platforms in the North Sea.
A list of OSC’s publications relating to this research is available on the publications page, www.osc.co.uk/publications-and-press-covers, and the video is available to watch here.
OSC-NZ is pleased to announce that Melanie Orr (www.melanieorr.co.nz) has been appointed as a Director of OSC-NZ, the Asia-Pacific branch of Ocean Science Consulting. She joins Ian Todd, Victoria Todd and Erica (Morrin) Chapman on the board. Along with completing day-to-day business activities, Melanie is the main New Zealand-based contact for OSC-NZ.
We are happy to announce that Erica (Morrin) Chapman and Jane (Gardiner) Warley have recently become shareholders of OSC-NZ. Both Erica and Jane got married this year, Erica in June to Peter and Jane to Dave in October, and both the received the shares as a wedding present.
Ian Todd, Victoria Todd, Erica (Morrin) Chapman & Jane (Gardiner) Warley shake hands to celebrate Erica & Jane becoming shareholders of OSC-NZ
Ocean Science Consulting is all set to attend the Decommissioning and wreck removal workshop, which is taking place during the MASTS Annual Science Meeting held at the Technology & Innovation Centre, Glasgow between the 1st and 2nd of October 2015.
Dr Victoria Todd chief research scientist and Managing Director of OSC will present an overview of the costs and benefits associated with decommissioning of North Sea oil and gas infrastructure with particular emphasis on the environment during session four at 10:50 on 2nd of October.
Dr Victoria Todd (MD), Ian Todd (MD), Erica Chapman (Marine Science Consultant) and Jane Gardiner (Marine Scientist) all look forward to seeing you there.