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  • Offshore Exploration and Exploitation in the Mediterranean

    A report published in the Science for Environment Policy April 2012 discusses the impacts on Marine and Coastal Environments in the Mediterranean from Offshore Exploration and Exploitation.
    ESG comment:
    It is a seven page highly readable document which gives a stark warning about the implications from this type of exploration for our marine environment already under threat from industrial pollution, shipping/bunkering and over fishing. The Bay ecosystem is part of the wider Mediterranean and is also threatened by increasing industrial activity in this region.
    This writer can reveal that on a recent visit up the south western coast of the Iberian Peninsula an offshore oil rig was seen in the Strait and explosions could be heard throughout a short stay in the area during the Easter weekend.

    This report, providing a lot of detail and research behind what is going on in the far distance hidden from view and unknown to most of us, is therefore a timely paper to help us understand this latest potential hazard to our marine environment.

    Please read and fwd link to your contacts


    As examples of direct impacts on marine environments from such explorative practices the report mentions:

    Death of a wide variety of marine species
    Behavioural disturbances, including changes in feeding, reproduction and migration
    Airborne emissions of chemicals from controlled burns
    Microbial blooms
    Hypoxia -lowering of oxygen concentrations in water
    Toxic effects of chemicals used to disperse oil”

    The report also states that “many of the impacts of offshore activities on marine environments are uncertain, due to the complex interactions between many different species within marine ecosystems and difficulties associated with conducting research at depth.”

    Also of concern and mentioned in the report is the following:

    “Oil spills are not the only potential hazards posed by offshore oil and gas activities. Other important considerations are:-

    Seafloor and geological disturbances caused by explosions and drilling
    Drill cuttings (barium rich drilling by-products deposited on the seabed)
    Produced water (seawater mixed with oil)

    See also map lifted from report highlighting what is believed to be oil spills detected from satellite – very disturbing picture is being painted here and one that demands responsible and well managed resource appropriation and a major global drive to move developed nations towards renewable energy use and maximum recycling drives.

    Map represents possible oil spills detected in the Mediterranean offshore environment by satellite imaging (1999-2004), from both ships and offshore installations as an indication of the scale of existing oil pollution.
    Full map can be found on page 4 of report along with a multitude of references and other important information on this critical issue.