A new tool which will enable the UK oil and gas industry to estimate what effects oil and gas exploration will have on the marine environment, is to be developed by Dr Kate Gormley of Heriot-Watt University's Centre for Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology (CMBB).
Dr Gormley secured a NERC Oil and Gas Knowledge Exchange Fellowship worth nearly £250K to develop a new environmental data management (EDM) platform.
...we need to be able to set an environmental baseline in these relatively unknown territories in order to ensure their conservation.
It is expected to transform environmental impact assessments and monitoring, both routine ones and those during major incidents on the scale of the Deepwater Horizon spill.
Dr Gormley's Fellowship will focus on pertinent policy, industry and research questions in relation to decommissioning and ongoing monitoring.
Her work may have useful applications beyond oil and gas, including in offshore renewables and the emerging deep€sea mineral mining industry.
Speaking about her fellowship, Dr Gormley highlighted that ensuring that environmental data is collected and stored in an efficient and easily accessible manner will be increasingly important. She said "The introduction of new production techniques, combined with offshore exploration expanding into deeper waters around the UK, brings increased risks to the environment, such as an oil spill incident.
"That's why we need to be able to set an environmental baseline in these relatively unknown territories in order to ensure their conservation."