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Seismic shifts from regulations: Spatial trade-offs in marine mammals and the value of information from hydrocarbon seismic surveying


  • Maarten J. Punt

    () (Circular Economy and Social Entrepreneurship, Windesheim Honours College, Windesheim, The Netherlands)

  • Brooks A. Kaiser

    () (Department of Sociology, Environmental and Business Economics, University of Southern Denmark)


Seismic surveys can increase hydrocarbon deposit information, lowering subsequent expected costs of hydrocarbon exploration. Survey noise, however, can interfere with marine mammals and fishes, reducing fitness. Ice-covered Arctic waters temporally constrain both surveying and marine mammal species; damage mitigation requires temporal and spatial planning. The survey noise externality is stronger than that for drilling (Erbe, 2012); there is additional cost to marine species’ habitat versus drilling alone. We develop a spatially explicit bio-economic and Value-of-Information (VOI) model examining these tradeoffs and illustrate it for oil exploration decisions off the Western Greenlandic coast. We use cost-effectiveness to identify implicit thresholds for sound habitat quality conservation as a function of regulatory choices that have different impacts under different assumptions about the relative spatial values of marine mammal habitat maintenance.

Suggested Citation

  • Maarten J. Punt & Brooks A. Kaiser, 2019. "Seismic shifts from regulations: Spatial trade-offs in marine mammals and the value of information from hydrocarbon seismic surveying," Working Papers 2/19, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Sociology, Environmental and Business Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sdk:wpaper:2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kaiser, Brooks A. & Burnett, Kimberly M., 2010. "Spatial economic analysis of early detection and rapid response strategies for an invasive species," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 566-585, November.
    2. Punt, Maarten J. & Groeneveld, Rolf A. & van Ierland, Ekko C. & Stel, Jan H., 2009. "Spatial planning of offshore wind farms: A windfall to marine environmental protection?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 93-103, November.
    3. Maarten, J. Punt & Wesseler, Justus, 2015. "The Formation of GM-free and GM Coasean clubs," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212711, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    4. Scrucca, Luca, 2013. "GA: A Package for Genetic Algorithms in R," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 53(i04).
    5. Martinelli, Gabriele & Eidsvik, Jo & Hauge, Ragnar, 2013. "Dynamic decision making for graphical models applied to oil exploration," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 230(3), pages 688-702.
    6. Mason, Charles F., 1986. "Exploration, information, and regulation in an exhaustible mineral industry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 153-166, June.
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    More about this item


    Value of Information (VOI); seismic surveys; marine mammals; marine habitat; marine noise pollution; hydrocarbon exploration; Arctic oil and gas exploration; evaluation of regulatory programs; spatial bio-economic modelling;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • Q35 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Hydrocarbon Resources
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics

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