IAGC members make another step towards shooting seismic in Atlantic

Following last week’s move by the Department of Interior to rescind the previous administration’s ban on seismic survey applications in the Atlantic, seismic surveyors have reportedly notched another win.

To remind, the Obama administration had ordered the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to deny the six seismic surveyors’ permit applications.

Following the denial,the seismic companies filed appeals with the Interior Board of Land Appeals to have their applications reinstated.

The U.S. Department of Interior, now under the Trump administration, last week said it would move forward to resume its evaluation of applications from six companies seeking permits to conduct geological and geophysical (G&G) activities in the Atlantic Ocean , upon the grant of the remand by the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA).

According to the International Association of Geophysical Contractors, the IBLA has now decided to remand to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for further consideration the appealed permit applications for seismic surveying of the U.S. Atlantic.

Worth noting, the remand does not approve the permits, but it does BOEM to resume its evaluation to determine whether they will individually be approved or denied.

IAGC president Nikki Martin said Monday: “Today’s decision, following the memorandum issued from BOEM last week, successfully concludes the appeal of the previous Administration’s arbitrary and overtly political decision to deny pending seismic permit applications for the U.S. Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf. We look forward to the agency expeditiously considering these applications pursuant to Secretarial Order 3350 and consistent with the purpose of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to “insure that the extent of oil and natural gas resources of the Outer Continental Shelf is assessed at the earliest practicable time.”

“The IAGC, together with six member companies, TGS, PGS, WesternGeco, CGG, Spectrum and GXT/ION, appealed the arbitrary permit denials to the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) in March. Following the memorandum, the IBLA remanded the permit applications to BOEM and dismissed all pending motions in the appeals of the Atlantic permit applications.

“As this Administration has recognized, new data acquisition in the Atlantic is imperative to comprehensive and long-term energy planning. Contrary to misinformation, seismic and other geophysical surveys have been successfully conducted in the Atlantic OCS and around the world for over 50 years without significant impact to marine mammal populations or coastal ecosystems.

“We applaud the Administration for demonstrating its commitment to the timely and lawful processing of these permits, some of which were filed as long as nine years ago.”

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