Scientific understanding of marine sound
We firmly believe that effective policy must stem from good, independent science. Increased understanding of the effect of sound generated by exploration and production activity on marine life both helps governments make regulatory decisions based on sound science and the industry develop effective mitigation strategies.
While the sea is filled with a wide variety of natural and man-made sounds there has been a particular focus on sound generated by seismic surveys. Seismic studies are absolutely vital to the industry as they create sound waves that bounce off different rock strata, just as submarines determine their location. The process of using seismic sound sources and capturing the data is known as a seismic survey. Interpretation of the seismic survey data allows exploration teams to understand the geology beneath the ocean floor. Seismic surveys are part of a suite of tools that help to define if an area is prospective for oil and gas and if there are locations that merit drilling. As such seismic surveys help to define the number of wells we have to drill and limit our activity in the marine environment.
As a result, a wide group of international oil companies and the International Association of Geophysical Contractors committed in 2005 to found a Joint Industry Programme (JIP) under the auspices of the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) to identify and conduct a research programme that improves understanding of the potential impact of Exploration and Production (E&P) sound on marine life.
Support planning of E&P projects and risk assessments.
Provide the basis for appropriate operational measures that are protective of marine life.
Inform policy and regulatory development.
What is the JIP?
The JIP’s internal organisation
The JIP has deliberately structured itself to ensure that it is democratic, scientific, impartial and open to expert opinion. Like many democratic governments the JIP has two principal chambers: The Executive Committee (ExCom) and the Technical Management Committee (TMC).
The ExCom, made up of environmental and business managers and industry scientists, co-ordinates and approves funding based on their combined decades of experience of operating in marine environments. Every partner company has a member on the ExCom.
The TMC defines and supports the research projects and reports to the ExCom.
This dual structure ensures that all members of the JIP are represented and every effort is made to ensure that decisions are made by consensus.
In addition to the two primary committees every research project is managed on a more day-to-day basis by a Project Support Group (PSG). This is made up of research personnel from each company, who work alongside the researchers in order to share ideas, explain industry practice and monitor project focus and delivery.
Collaboration is one of the founding principles of the JIP and we have deliberately engaged world-leading scientists to guide our research to ensure that it conforms to the highest standards. With this aim in mind the EC has appointed an external advisory panel made up of recognised experts from outside the industry (regulators, academics, NGOs and scientists). The external advisory panel provides regular review of the programme’s direction and scope of work. Their independent voices ensure the credibility and authority of the research.