Just Stop Oil exploration

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  • #92214 Reply

      The ‘Just Stop Oil’ protests are seen in the media when angry citizens attack the protesters and grab their banners and placards.

      Yesterday, I read an article in Sidecar magazine titled ‘Blasted Sea’, which gives a whole new perspective on why oil exploration just needs stopping.

      “The quest for offshore fuel is also propelled by growing scarcity. Much of the ‘conventional’ supply of oil and gas is already over-exploited, forcing mining companies to go to greater lengths.

      “Tapping ‘unconventional’ deposits requires advanced technology. Before an offshore oil or gas well can be sunk, the area needs to be mapped, and the most accurate way to do that is via a process called ‘seismic exploration’. This involves a ship slowly traversing the ‘acquisition area’ – industry jargon for the place being mapped – trailing pneumatic guns and microphones behind it, sometimes on 10km-long lines. The air-guns fire regular sound blasts into the water; the microphones record the echo bouncing back from the seafloor. To penetrate the sub-seafloor, where oil and gas may be found, the blasts have to be extremely loud. At an unimaginable 240 decibels, they are among the loudest sounds humans can produce. For comparison: these are louder than the sound produced by the explosion of an atomic bomb. To map the acquisition area, hundreds of thousands of such blasts are required. The guns fire every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, for months on end. At this rate the number of blasts adds up quickly. By the time of Sunak’s announcement, SAExploration’s vessel in the North Sea would have fired off almost one million blasts over the first 108 days of its mission.

      “The blasts are no doubt keenly heard by cetaceans – dolphins and whales – who experience sound in distinctive and complex ways (they are able to ‘see’ and feel with sound). Humans can hear frequencies between 20 and 20,000 hertz (Hz); Bottlenose dolphins can hear up to 160,000 Hz. They use their ultra-precise hearing to locate food, to navigate and to communicate. Hundreds of thousands of nuclear bomb-volume blasts ripping through their habitat is likely to affect their senses in ways we cannot understand. It is an act of phenomenal violence. What of the other inhabitants of the overfished, acidifying ocean? What happens when microorganisms are hit with a 240-decibel sound wave? The short answer is nobody knows; it hasn’t been adequately studied.”


      hat tip to Keith-264, Lifeboat News

      #92219 Reply
      Fat Jon

        Yes, I’ve often wondered if loud human-produced noises caused whales and dolphins to become stranded on coasts around the UK. My conclusions are becoming more convincing with reports such as this.

        I don’t remember these occurrences from my childhood, but then the print and broadcast media was much more localised in its coverage (although I did live near the North Sea) back then. All I remember is the annual local seal cull, and footage of men clubbing seals to death on the rocks.

        Could my memory of a lack of whale and dolphin strandings be something to do with oil not being discovered in the North Sea until about 1967? Maybe these days, the poor creatures are committing suicide after weeks/months of their marine equivalent to a severe migraine that never goes away?

        #92222 Reply

          Shell were going to do this in the North Sea not far off the Yorkshire coast. There was a campaign to stop it due to its effects on marine life. I think it’s been shelved temporarily due to lack of money for infrastructure, possibly the new plant to crack it into hydrogen, and carbon dioxide for supposed burial ie. squeezing out more oil or gas.

          My guess is that smaller and less conventional deposits require more seismic exploration than the old big fields, which are indeed now depleted. More, smaller deposits must be found, and each needs more detail to find the best places to drill.

          They might do less damage if they put explosive charges directly in contact with the seabed. I thought that on land they used to drill short holes and put dynamite at the bottom; at least, that’s what simplified diagrams seemed to show. But my memory of this is decades old.

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