At Kosmos, we are committed to actively consulting with stakeholders on the actions we take to mitigate impacts when exploring for hydrocarbons. We believe that partnering and engaging in dialogue with stakeholders deepens our understanding of public concerns that should be addressed. These dialogues can ultimately lead to better-informed decision making and reduced risks to environment.
Following the public consultations for our seismic acquisition program offshore São Tomé and Príncipe, we were contacted by Fauna & Flora International (FFI), an international wildlife conservation organization, with an ongoing environmental program on Príncipe Island. In response, the project management team from Kosmos met with conservation specialists from FFI to discuss in greater detail our survey plans and the proposed seismic mitigation options.
During our initial meeting, FFI provided valuable input on the design of our seismic survey and mitigation measures in relation to potential impacts on biodiversity. Kosmos presented the detailed Environmental and Social Impact Assessment completed during the planning phase of operations, along with other key studies and the logistics plan that minimized the overall duration of the survey and ensured that maximum distance was kept from each area of sensitivity.
We discussed and clarified items about which FFI had concerns. Subjects under discussion included:
Communication is critical, and no more so than during field operations. FFI reviewed Kosmos’ Sensitive Marine Fauna Protection Plan, the primary document that professional Marine Fauna Observers and Passive Acoustic Monitoring operators use to implement the practical field tools to minimize the risks to marine fauna. During the seven-month-long seismic survey, 306 observations of 12 cetacean species were made. Compliance with the mitigation plan was exemplary, with no issues arising. Eight mitigation actions were implemented during the seismic program: four involving Pilot whales and four for Humpback whales, including one full shut-down for the extended mitigation zone for mother-calf pairs.
We continued to work with FFI after the initial engagement by facilitating a meeting between our Marine Fauna Observers and FFI staff in São Tomé and Príncipe, and by holding a follow up meeting at FFI’s headquarters after the seismic acquisition was complete. With the permission of the government of São Tomé and Príncipe, Kosmos shared with FFI the cetacean and marine mammal data acquired by our Marine Fauna Observers and other scientists during the acquisition program. The data is particularly important because there is a lack of current research and data on cetaceans and turtles in the waters far offshore São Tomé and Príncipe.
Our engagement with Kosmos was a valuable knowledge sharing exercise. They showed great willingness to engage with FFI and explained in detail the efforts they were planning to mitigate impact to marine mammals and turtles. In addition, Kosmos was responsive to our concerns which resulted in enhanced mitigation actions during their survey.
– Sophie Benbow Marine Programme Manager, FFI
Through research, engagement, and a collaborative approach, we are proud to have completed a seismic survey offshore São Tomé and Príncipe that meets high international environmental standards. We greatly appreciate the willingness of FFI to meet with us and work together to ensure that we are each doing our part to protect marine fauna and respect the unique environment of São Tomé and Príncipe.