A ship towing an array of air cannon spread out in a line behind it.
Photo Credit: via climateviewer

Update: Seismic oil and gas exploration in Arctic waters postponed again


It has been controversial since it was first proposed by a consortium of oil and gas companies in 2011.  The consortium wants to conduct seismic exploration off the coast of Baffin Island but have faced strong opposition to the plan. Although federal agencies have given approval, opposition groups have taken the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The consortium recently announced the exploration will be postponed again this summer during the ice free season.

Jerry Natanine is the former mayor of Clyde River, Nunavut, and a driving force in the campaign against seismic exploration.

Jerry Natanine, Clyde River’s former mayor, stands outside the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa in Nov.2016. A rally in support of the campaign to prevent seismic testing is taking place behind him. The Court has not yet issued its decision. © Waubgeshig Rice/CBC

There are several small communities of Inuit along the eastern coast of Baffin Island, and indeed throughout the Arctic, who are opposed to the exploration.

These communities rely heavily on fishing and other marine mammals for sustenance and their way of life.

They have serious concerns about the effect that the loud underwater blasts may have on marine life.

Whales and other creatures communicate through underwater sound and there are fears that not only could the loud regular blasts chase animals away, but also about the potential physical damage they may suffer to hearing for example. In humans hearing damage can begin at  85db.

RCI-April 2015-SCC appeal

RCI- May 2016-scientists-inuit opposed

The project details given to the National Energy Board say the underwater air blasts of 230 decibels at a distance of one metre away, would occur every 13-15 seconds 24 hours a day.

Sonic cannon send loud blasts through the water. The sound reflects at different rates off the underlying layers of the ocean floor, the reflected sound is picked up by a towed hydrophone and sent to special equipment where it is analyzed to indicate presence of oil or gas reserves under the ocean floor with GPS records indicating exact location. © USGS Woods Hole Institute

The shock waves penetrate the ocean floor and reflect back at differing rates to indicate various layers and materials beneath such as pockets of oil or gas.

Canada’s National Energy Board approved the seismic testing plan in the cross-hatched area just outside the 12 nautical mile coastal area off Baffin Island, © Environmental Assessment Report for the NORTHEASTERN CANADA 2D SEISMIC SURVEY (Baffin Bay/Davis Strait)

Natanine says he’s very please the consortium has announced yet another postponement for this year, but says it’s not due to the Inuit concerns, but merely because of the current lower value for oil and gas.

For now he says, they are just waiting for the Supreme Court of Canada to hand down their decision to the communities challenge of the government approval for the testing.

Further action will depend on that decision he says.

Additional information

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Economy, Environment, Immigration & Refugees, Indigenous, International, Internet, Science and Technology, Politics, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.