Industry extends funding for sound, marine life research

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, Nov. 11 -- Oil and gas producers have agreed to extend funding of a joint industry program (JIP) to support research into learning more about how sounds generated by upstream oil and gas activities affect marine life.

Much of the research has focused upon how various types of whales react to sounds and vibrations created by seismic survey equipment.

The JIP on Sound and Marine Life started with a 1-year scoping phase in 2005 followed by a 3-year phase that started in May 2006. The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers announced a 3-year funding extension on Nov. 11. OGP is based in London.

John Campbell, OGP technical director, said the extension will “enable us to continue supporting key research that assists regulatory and technical organizations in understanding the complex marine environment.”

A core of 10 of the original JIP participants agreed to extend the fund. They are BG Group, BHP Billiton, Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, Eni SPA, ExxonMobil Corp., the International Association of Geophysical Contractors, Santos Ltd., Statoil ASA, and Woodside Petroleum Ltd.

One of the first JIP projects led to developing acoustic-monitoring software that helps operators detect the presence of marine mammals within exploration and development areas.

Since May 2006, the JIP has funded 62 projects, and various government groups worldwide have helped funded many of these projects. JIP research addresses:

• Sound source characterization and propagation in the ocean.

• Physical, physiological, and hearing effects of sound on marine life.

• Behavioral reactions and their biological significance to sound in the marine environmental.

• Mitigation, monitoring, data analysis, and management.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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