Oil & Gas

HOV Alvin and drilling ship – Gulf of Mexico. Image courtesy of Erik Cordes, Temple University, USA

There is an increase in the industrialization of the deep sea that is occurring worldwide. The oil and gas industry is one of the most active industries on the continental margins. This is typically within national exclusive economic zones (EEZs), but continues to expand into deeper waters further offshore.

The potential impacts of this development were profoundly illustrated by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout event. The risks of additional incidents increase as our industrialization moves deeper and deeper.

Within different EEZs, there are a wide variety of regulations regarding the survey of deep-water areas prior to oil and gas leasing and the acceptable set-back distances from vulnerable marine ecosystems once they are discovered. One of the primary goals of the DOSI Oil & Gas working group is to provide a set of “best practice” recommendations for resource managers to apply within and beyond various nations’ exclusive economic zones.


Current Working Group Activities:

  1. Active community discussion of emerging offshore regulatory issues (we currently have 74 members)
  2. Development of broad stakeholder workshop to look at science required and recommendations from the review article (see below) – to identify science-based knowledge that is needed for develoing or modifying regulations as well as guidelines for and evaluation of EIAs.
  3. Consideration of a further workshop to develop capacity to design and implement EIAs for offshore oil and gas industrial activities in developing nations
  4. Assess the applicability of existing oil and gas assessments and regulations for offshore gas hydrate resources
  5. Establish collaborative relationship with International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA)
  6. Promote collaborative efforts to increase research in the following areas:
    1. Effects of sound on fish and invertebrates
    2. Effects of impacts on processes at microbial level
    3. Interactions between climatic variable sand drilling impacts
    4. In situ and ex situ studies of effects of dispersants on deep-sea organisms
    5. Recovery studies
    6. Cumulative effect studies
    7. More studies to determine distance of set-back and buffer zones
    8. Robust approaches for biodiversity assessment using meta-barcoding/eDNA
  7. Encourage responsible development by promoting cost-effective MPA design, encouraging the use of VME and EBSA concepts, providing examples of good adaptive management and examples of levels of acceptable change

Recent Working Group Activities:

  1. Review article published September 2016:  Cordes EE, Jones DOB, Schlacher TA, Amon DJ, Bernardino AF, Bett BJ, Brooke S, Carney R, DeLeo DM, Dunlop KM, Escobar E, Gates AR, Génio L, Gobin J, Henry L-A, Herrera S, Hoyt S, Joye S, Kark S, Mestre NC, Metaxas A, Pfeifer S, Sink K, Sweetman AK, Witte U. (2016) Environmental impacts of the deep-water oil and gas industry: a review to guide management strategies. Front. Environ. Sci. 4: 58. doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2016.00058 http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fenvs.2016.00058/full

Want to get involved?

If you are interested in participating in this working group, please contact WG Leads: Erik Cordes (ecordes (a) temple.edu) and Dan Jones (dj1 (a) noc.ac.uk)