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Onshore Environmental Risks - Noise

Oil and gas development activities can generate noise during all phases of development including the seismic surveys, construction activities, drilling and production, aerial surveys and air or road transportation. During operations, the main sources of noise and vibration pollution are likely to emanate from flaring and rotating equipment.

Noise sources include flares, vents, pumps, compressors, generators, and heaters.

Noise impacts should be estimated by the use of baseline noise assessments for developments close to local human populations. For significant noise sources, such as flare stacks at permanent processing facilities, noise dispersion models should be conducted to establish the noise level guidelines can be met and to assist in the design of facility siting, stack heights, engineered sound barriers, and sound insulation on buildings.

Field-related vehicle traffic should be reduced as far as possible and access through local communities should be avoided when not necessary. Flight access routes and low flight altitudes should be selected and scheduled to reduce noise impacts without compromising aircraft and security. The sound and vibration propagation arising from seismic operations may result in impacts to human populations or to wildlife.

In planning seismic surveys, the following should be considered to minimize impacts:

  1. Minimize seismic activities in the vicinity of local population wherever possible
  2. Minimize simultaneous operations on closely spaced survey lines
  3. Use the lowest practicable vibrator power levels
  4. Reduce operation times, to the extent practical
  5. When shot-hole methods are employed, charge size and hole depth should be appropriately selected to reduce noise levels. Proper back-fill or plugging of holes will also help to reduce noise dispersion;
  6. Identify areas and time periods sensitive to wildlife such as feeding and breeding locations and seasons and avoid them when possible;
  7. If sensitive wildlife species are located in the area, monitor their presence before the onset of noise creating activities, and throughout the seismic program. In areas where significant impacts to sensitive species are anticipated, experienced wildlife observers should be used. Slowly buildup activities in sensitive locations.
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  • ASMAA - Algarve Surf and Marine Activities Association
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