Planned surveys in our southern licences
Equinor has made a commitment to the Argentinian government to carry out 3D seismic surveys in our licences across the Austral and Western Malvinas Basins, within the first exploration period.
The seismic acquisition area will be carried out in Federal Waters around 30 km offshore from the city of Río Grande, in the Province of Tierra del Fuego. The maximum size of the survey area covers approximately 7,810 km² through Equinor’s three operated licences (AUS_105, AUS_106 and MLO_121), as well as parts of neighbouring licences. The survey area will probably be between 6,000 and 7,000 km².
The plan is to mobilise the seismic vessel from the Port of Buenos Aires. When it is operating in the licence area the seismic vessel will receive supplies from a supply vessel approximately every two or three weeks. The port most likely to be used for supplies like fuel, food, equipment, or additional personnel, will be Puerto Deseado in the Province of Santa Cruz.
When will the survey be carried out?
According to Equinor’s current plan, the seismic operations will begin around September 2023. The operations are expected to last for around 150 days, and they will be ongoing 24 hours a day if the weather conditions allow it.
Equinor’s Impact Assessment
Equinor’s Impact Assessment for the planned seismic in our southern licences was submitted to the Argentinian authorities for the final review in November 2021. The assessment shows that after implementation of the planned mitigating actions, the operations may have a MODERATE impact on mammals and sea birds, and a LOW impact on fish and squids.
Examples of mitigating actions to be implemented are:
- Dedicated mammal observers onboard the seismic vessel to monitor and record marine life. Their task is to ensure that animals sensitive to low frequency sounds are not nearby when the sound source is active.
- Use of ‘soft start’. When the sound source is started, the sound output is increased slowly to give animals time to move away.
- If animals are observed nearby during the seismic acquisition, the sound output will be paused until they are well outside the exclusion zone defined by the Argentinian authorities.
Before starting the operations and throughout the seismic survey, a complaints mechanism will be in place, through which all complaints will be recorded and answered. Information about the mechanism and how to record a grievance will be provided to the fisheries’ representatives closer to the start-up of operations, and directly to the affected fishing boats.
Feedback or questions
An inbox has been set up for feedback and questions from interested parties related to our planned seismic in the Austral and Western Malvinas Basins. The email address is: ARG_sismica_sur@equinor.com