Action: Limit the thickness of drill cuttings
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- We found no studies that evaluated the effects of limiting the thickness of drill cuttings on subtidal benthic invertebrate populations.
‘We found no studies’ means that we have not yet found any studies that have directly evaluated this intervention during our systematic journal and report searches. Therefore, we have no evidence to indicate whether or not the intervention has any desirable or harmful effects.
Routine oil and gas drilling activities can impact subtidal invertebrate seabed communities due to the production of drill cuttings. Drill cuttings consist of the fragments of rock that are removed as each oil or gas well is drilled. The drill cuttings are usually discharged onto the seafloor in the vicinity of the platforms to form a cuttings pile, but are often contaminated with drilling fluids, oil and chemical additives which can leach and pollute the sediments. Drill cuttings can also smother and bury organisms under their weight (Henry et al. 2017). Limiting the thickness of drill cuttings can potentially reduce the level of threat to subtidal benthic invertebrates (Trannum et al. 2011).
Henry L.A., Harries D., Kingston P. & Roberts J.M. (2017) Historic scale and persistence of drill cuttings impacts on North Sea benthos. Marine Environmental Research, 129, 219–228.
Trannum H.C., Setvik Å., Norling K. & Nilsson H.C. (2011) Rapid macrofaunal colonization of water-based drill cuttings on different sediments. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 62, 2145–2156.