Two applications for seismic surveys have been submitted following the announcement from the Obama administration that it would open up portions off the east coast for offshore drilling. The two companies, Spectrum Geo and GX Technology, both Houston based companies, have filed requests to conduct seismic testing in the waters off the coast of North Carolina to determine what oil and natural gas resources are available, reports Lumina News.
The companies filed their requests with the N.C. Division of Coastal Management to conduct seismic testing in the federal waters off the North Carolina coast in 2015. Spectrum Geo plans to employ two ships with seismic airgun arrays early in the year, while GX plans to employ one ship between July and December.
The Division of Coastal Management (DCM) does not have direct jurisdiction over the federal waters where the companies plan to conduct testing, but spokesperson Michele Walker said the group will review the submissions to assure their plans are consistent with the division’s program requirements. The agency website says, “Because North Carolina’s Costal Management Program is federally approved, a number of activities are required to comply with the enforceable polices of the state’s certified coastal management program,” and that because of that, “DCM will evaluate each consistency submission for conformance with the enforceable policies of the state’s coastal program.”
The division approved a request from the National Science Foundation to conduct seismic testing in 2014, requesting additional mitigation measures. Walker said the testing occurred without incident.
The federal government estimates that there are 3,300 MMBO and 31.28 Tcf of natural gas along the entire Atlantic seabed, but many say these estimates are out of date. Most of the testing done in the Atlantic to date was done in the 1970s and 1980s, and industry and other drilling supporters consider the estimates low.
The Obama administration endorsed seismic testing in the Atlantic last year, and the News Observer reports nine companies have applied for approval so far. The area being considered for Atlantic offshore drilling stretches from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to Delaware.
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