- Programme Objective Number 1. Understand the environmental risks of offshore operations (informs risk assessments within industry, informs the scientific community and regulators about environmental effects):
- Can (the PCAD Model) lead to a predictive model that is usable in risk assessment and regulations?
- How do results of models fit into risk assessment?
- Are there other tools (e.g. risk assessment) which we need to develop or enhance?
Most E&P companies use a risk matrix approach to assess environmental risk of offshore operations. This study was funded to develop a method of using existing data and databases to develop sound-related environmental risk assessments for offshore operations.
After reviewing the literature, the contractors created a prototype multi-tiered risk assessment software package for determining the level of marine mammal risk in response to specified sound sources. The approach incorporated relevant information from several databases and included a semi-quantitative approach to assigning the severity of consequences.
Objectives and methods
The objectives of this study were to:
- review and summarize available risk assessment tools and existing relevant databases,
- based on the review, recommend an approach to developing risk assessments for E&P operations that integrates available data on marine species.
All of the databases the contractors reported varied in the quantity and quality of the data they contained; each should be used with caution. The risk assessment’s scoring system produced an estimated consequence level of “high risk” regardless of the input factors used. No other outcome was possible, even with benign exposures. As a consequence, the Programme has not adopted this tool for risk assessments.
Links to other research
This study was related to all Programme research in that it had the potential to link sound characterization and propagation with behavioural and non-behavioural effects. However, the scoring system could not help develop appropriate mitigation measures.