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January Technical Luncheon – Demonstrating an acceptable level of impact: an assessment of noise impacts to fishes from a seismic survey in an Australian Marine Park

Thursday, 30 January, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm (Australia/Perth time)

$20.00 – $60.00

Guest Speaker(s): Joe Edgell (Senior Environmantal Consultant, ERM) and Ollie Glade-Wright (Environment Manager, Cooper Energy)

Joe graduated from the University of Southampton in 2009 with an MSc in Environmental Coastal Engineering. His working career spans 11 years as an environmental consultant delivering environmental approvals and supporting compliance for marine energy and resource projects in Europe, Australia and SE Asia. Since joining ERM as a Senior Environmental Consultant in Perth in 2012, Joe has worked on a wide range of projects with an increasing focus on the assessment of underwater noise impacts and development of environment plans (EPs) for oil and gas exploration, development and production activities. Ollie graduated from Flinders University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology. He is an environmental professional with over 15 years’ experience working in the petroleum, mining and marine consulting industries in operational and leadership roles. Ollie has extensive experience in regulatory approvals, impact assessment, compliance implementation and stakeholder liaison and has managed environmental teams for petroleum exploration and development activities around Australia. Prior to starting at Cooper Energy in 2018 Ollie spent six years at Santos, where he managed the regulatory approvals and subsequent implementation of the Bethany 3D Seismic Survey.

This paper was presented at the 2019 APPEA Conference where it was awarded the Alan Prince award for Best Peer Reviewed Paper

Presentation Summary

With a current Senate Inquiry into the impact of seismic testing on fisheries and the marine environment, the method for identifying and managing potential impacts from offshore seismic surveys is becoming increasingly important. This presentation is a case study of a particularly challenging impact assessment and approvals process for a 3D seismic survey in the Bonaparte Basin.

Paper Abstract

A key challenge of the environmental regulatory framework for offshore petroleum activities in Australia is the requirement to demonstrate acceptability, with the legislation placing the onus on petroleum titleholders to demonstrate that the impacts and risks posed by an activity will be of an acceptable level and reduced to as low as reasonably practicable. This paper presents a case study on the assessment of noise impacts to fishes for the Bethany 3D Marine Seismic Survey, which was acquired by Santos Ltd in mid-2018. The survey area was encompassed entirely by the Oceanic Shoals Marine Park, and also overlapped a significant proportion of the Timor Reef Fishery, a regionally important demersal scalefish fishery. The survey area overlapped a key ecological feature and a range of geomorphic features characterised by benthic habitats supporting demersal and benthic fish communities, including site-attached species. On this basis, the evaluation of impacts and risks required a multi-faceted approach, with seven key elements: (1) acoustic modelling; (2) application of sound exposure guidelines; (3) a quantitative risk assessment (benthic habitat predictive modelling and spatial analysis of site attached fish assemblages); (4) the definition of an acceptable level of impact; (5) a sound source verification process; (6) engagement with key stakeholders; and (7) an independent, expert peer review process. The outcomes of each of these steps were incorporated into the environment plan, and enabled the titleholder to demonstrate that, with adopted control measures in place, environmental impacts and risks from the seismic survey could be managed to an acceptable level.

When: Thursday 30th of January, 12 pm for 12:30

Where: Ayers House, Ballroom, 288 North Terrace, Adelaide

Prices: $50 for PESA members, $60 for non-members and $20 for students

Sponsor: Cooper Energy, Beach Energy, Santos and the Department for Energy and Mining



Thursday, 30 January, 2020
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
(Australia/Perth time)
$20.00 – $60.00
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    Ayers House – Conservatory
    288 North Tce
    Adelaide, SA 5000 Australia
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