NC Attorney General Files Lawsuit to Block Marine Seismic Surveys

By David Middleton – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Hat tip to Willie Soon…

NC attorney general files federal lawsuit to block offshore drilling

RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) – Attorney General Josh Stein on Wednesday announced he has filed a lawsuit that seeks to block the Trump Administration from allowing seismic exploration for oil and gas off the North Carolina coast.

The Trump administration overruled North Carolina’s objections to offshore drilling, opening the way for WesternGeco, one of five companies seeking to conduct seismic exploration, to move one step closer to receiving necessary permits.

Seismic testing uses powerful airguns that blast sounds at the ocean floor repeatedly for long periods of time. Marine experts say these sounds can harm sea life and coastal resources – and could have significant impacts on North Carolina’s fishing and tourism industries.


Firstly, the idiot didn’t file a lawsuit to block offshore drilling. There hasn’t been any offshore drilling on the US Atlantic OCS (outer continental shelf) since the early 1980’s. There haven’t even been any lease sales since 1983.

Secondly, “seismic testing”… WTF? They must be referring to marine seismic surveying.

Flipper Will Be Fine: Feds Say Seismic Surveying is Safe

Thirdly, there is no evidence whatsoever that marine airguns have ever harmed any marine life… And even though there is no evidence, extensive precautions are taken to prevent harm to marine life.

To date, there has been no documented scientific evidence of noise from air guns used in geological and geophysical (G&G)seismic activities adversely affecting marine animal populations or coastal communities. This technology has been used for more than 30 years around the world. It is still used in U.S. waters off of the Gulf of Mexico with no known detrimental impact to marine animal populations or to commercial fishing.

While there is no documented case of a marine mammal or sea turtle being killed by the sound from an air gun, it is possible that at some point where an air gun has been used, an animal could have been injured by
getting too close. Make no mistake, airguns are powerful, and protections need to be in place to prevent harm. That is why mitigation measures — like required distance between surveys and marine mammals and time and area closures for certain species — are so critical.

US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), 2014

BOEM established a strict framework for marine geophysical surveys to ensure that they are conducted in a manner that least affects marine life. The sounds generated by marine airguns are within the bounds of common natural and anthropogenic processes and activities.

Figure 1. IOGP Report 358 (out of print)

If marine airguns harmed marine life, someone would have noticed by now. WesternGeco and TGS are two of the world’s major marine geophysical contractors. They have conducted marine seismic surveys all over the world.

On the WesternGeco maps, the magenta lines are 2d seismic surveys, the filled polygons are 3d seismic surveys.

Figure 2. WesternGeco global.
Figure 3. WesternGeco North Atlantic
Figure 4. WesternGeco Gulf of Mexico

On the TGS maps, the gray lines are older 2d surveys, the green lines are more recent 2d surveys, the filled polygons are 3d surveys and the blue dots are digital well logs.

Figure 5. TGS Northern Hemisphere

TGS markets the old 2d surveys shot on the US Atlantic OCS in the 1970’s.

Figure 6. TGS Atlantic OCS

I wonder if the idiot attorney general realizes that seismic surveys were shot off the North Carolina coast back in the 1970’s?

Figure 7. TGS North Carolina

For that matter, 51 exploration wells were drilled on the US Atlantic OCS from 1976-1984. The last well drilled was actually the closest one to North Carolina. The Shell Baltimore Rise 93-1 Well was drilled about 160 miles northeast of the North Carolina-Virginia border.

Figure 8. Shell Baltimore Rise 93-1 Location map

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) 2014 estimate of technically recoverable hydrocarbon resources was 4.6 billion barrels (Bbbl) of oil and 38 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas.

While much of this is rank frontier exploration, the northern boundary of the US Atlantic OCS is adjacent to Canada’s very active Scotia Basin.

Figure 9. US/Canada offshore Atlantic plays and fields. US BOEM and CAPP.

Just north of the US-Canada border…

Atlantic Canada has a thriving offshore oil and natural gas industry, with six producing projects and ongoing exploration activity in the area.

Atlantic Canada produces more than 233,000 barrels of oil per day, representing five per cent of Canada’s total crude oil production. To date, development of oil and natural gas production in Atlantic Canada has mainly occurred offshore Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.

In addition to current projects, the Atlantic region has seen significant exploration activity in recent years. Exploration is key to the future of the offshore industry as it leads to new discoveries and potential developments.

The offshore industry has had a major impact on Atlantic Canada’s economy thanks to the royalties and taxes the industry pays to governments, and the creation of jobs and expenditures related to industry activity. Oil and natural gas companies in the region also contribute significantly to the communities where they are active.

Atlantic Canada’s Offshore Oil and Gas Industry

Geology doesn’t stop at state lines or national borders.

“But we don’t need the oil!”

“The Communist Chinese virus has delivered peak oil demand much sooner than expected”… Riiight…

Figure 10. US gasoline demand is back to within 700,000 bbl/d of “normal”… And a whole lot of us are still working from home. EIA

And crude oil stocks are almost back to the normal range…

Figure 11. The glut is nearing the end. EIA

Jet fuel demand is also recovering, particularly in the US and Red China.

Figure 12. “Demand for jet fuel in the U.S. is recovering faster than in many other markets.” EIA

If seismic survey acquisition began next year, it would probably be at least another year before the data were processed and available for delivery. It would take another year for companies to fully evaluate it and be ready to bid on prospective leases. If a lease sale was held in 2024, the first wells probably wouldn’t be drilled until at least 2025. Even if major discoveries were made, it would probably take at least 5 years to start bringing them on production… 2030, at the earliest… if any economic oil discoveries are even made. Of course, if Biden wins the election, this will all be a moot point. The US offshore oil industry will have largely been destroyed and we’ll all be freezing in the dark by 2030.

MAGA! Here’s a picture of my favorite hat:

“Make the GoM (Gulf of Mexico Shelf Great Again.”


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