There are now hundreds of wells for oil and gas resources in waters deeper than 200m worldwide. New developments are reaching depths in excess of 3000m (e.g. in the Gulf of Mexico). While Environmental Impact Assessments are required for each locality, it is apparent that Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) are necessary at the regional scale where multiple wells occur, or where there are competing resources for ocean space, such as in the Arctic Ocean. SEAs allow for forward planning for the conservation of biodiversity and the resolution of overlapping claims.
Deep Seas Environmental Solutions Ltd. (DSES) staff played a key role in regional scale deep-water environmental surveys in the Faroe-Shetland Channel to the north of Scotland (the Atlantic Margin Environmental Surveys – AMES). This work led to industry-led fellowships in biodiversity research, and the use of stand-by time in existing field ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) infrastructure for environmental surveying and scientific research (http://www.serpentproject.com/).
DSES has wide experience of ocean margin ecosystems. The research of DSES staff has led greater understanding of the major environmental drivers influencing the geographic and bathymetric distributions of fauna, and the life-history characteristics of deep-sea fauna that make them vulnerable to repeated human impacts. This knowledge is critical for the creation of innovative environmental management plans to resolve conflicts between different stakeholders. DSES is able to take an independent view and offer novel solutions to competing demands for resources and the conservation of biodiversity.