(Angola) - BP has commissioned a deep sea environmental monitoring station from the University of Aberdeen's oceanography institute, Oceanlab. The plan is to deliver the first Delos (Deep-ocean Environmental Long-term Observatory System) in 2007, for use in BP's offshore Angola operations.
Delos will comprise two platforms situated on the seabed, maintained periodically by ROVs, which will monitor the environment around these activities for 20 years. The first "near field" platform will be located in 1,400 m of water, within 50 m of a wellhead, with the second situated 5 m away from drilling activity. Independent scientists will monitor the data from both platforms, and undertake comparisons to ascertain potential environmental impact.
Jim Clarke, BP's Local Environmental Impact project manager, pointed out that while BP was using technological breakthroughs to explore in ever-deeper waters, the industry lacked understanding of the side effects of these activities beyond the continental shelf.
Oceanlab has 20 years experience of designing and building deep ocean systems for biological research. The cost of the project is estimated at £832,000, with BP funding the initial capital program. Other participants include the University of California, Texas A&M University, and the National Oceanographic Centre.