Santamarina Steta

Project NOM-016-ASEA-2023 for seismic surveys to be carried out in agricultural, livestock, and wasteland areas

Executive Summary

  • On April 21, 2023, the Agencia de Seguridad, Energía y Ambiente ("ASEA") published the Proyecto de Norma Oficial Mexicana PROY-NOM-016-ASEA-2023.
  • The Project's purpose is to establish the specifications for the camp's installation, seismic sources, safety distances, safety procedures, and drilling and loading of shot wells, among others, within the scope of environmental protection and operational and industrial safety.
  • The NOM is currently undergoing a public consultation process, which ends on June 21, 2023, and will enter into force 180 calendar days after its publication.

On April 21, 2023, the Agencia de Seguridad, Energía y Ambiente ("ASEA") published, in the Diario Oficial de la Federación ("DOF"), the Proyecto de Norma Oficial Mexicana PROY-NOM-016-ASEA-2023, Specifications for Industrial Safety, Operational Safety, and Environmental Protection to be observed for Seismic Surveys to be carried out in agricultural, livestock and wasteland areas ("the Project").

Seismic prospecting is a technique used in the exploration of natural resources such as oil, natural gas, and minerals, being an essential tool for natural resource exploration and extraction. It must be conducted responsibly and in compliance with the regulations and standards established to protect the environment and the safety of people, as well as the nearby communities that carry out these operations.

The Project cancels and replaces NOM-116-SEMARNAT-2005, which establishes the environmental protection specifications for land seismological surveys carried out in agricultural, livestock, and wasteland areas.

The Project's purpose is to establish the specifications for the camp's installation, seismic sources, safety distances, safety procedures, and drilling and loading of shot wells, among others, within the scope of environmental protection and operational and industrial safety.

The NOM is currently undergoing a public consultation process, which ends on June 21, 2023, and will enter into force 180 calendar days after its publication.

Project Overview

The Project establishes the mandatory specifications for seismic prospecting activities in agricultural, livestock, and wasteland areas in the hydrocarbon sector throughout the national territory. The above, starting with the planning and selection of the site where the factors of the conditions of the access roads and/or pre-existing breaches, the infrastructure associated with the hydrocarbon sector, surface and subway water bodies, and the presence of flora and fauna in the study area must be considered for its registration.

It is crucial to identify, evaluate and mitigate the geological, chemical, and sanitary risks associated with land seismic prospecting, as well as to protect the flora, fauna, and aquatic ecosystems. The seismic source must be implemented safely, without affecting the environment, and with adequate disposal of the waste generated, prohibiting the agrochemicals or burning of vegetation for land clearing.

Preoperational Specifications

A log must be kept to certify their correct operation and maintenance, using the documents provided by the manufacturer to avoid environmental damage and to ensure the correct operation of seismic land survey vehicles and equipment. Also required are proper lifting techniques for installation, uninstallation of camps, and removal of equipment.

Operating Specifications

For the operation, it is necessary to establish a methodology to conduct field tests and determine the maximum vibration levels and safety distances from the location of the seismic source, respecting the maximum vibration levels and avoiding any damage to the environment. The safety distances and compliance with regulations and standards minimize the impact of the extractive activity on the fauna, flora, and nearby ecosystems, and avoid air, water, and soil contamination that cause possible environmental and social impacts.

A report must be prepared at the end of the tests, including the start and end date, test parameters such as geographic coordinates, surface vibration monitoring, maximum particle velocity value, and maximum frequency values. In addition, an updated log must be kept with the specifications for explosives or vibrosisms and a report must be prepared at the end of the tests. 

Specification for the Completion of Operations

After the seismic land survey competition, it must ensure that the site is clean and free of any material, equipment, or waste generated by associated activities, including the camp installation and the construction of boreholes. Likewise, all the shooting pits used during the survey must be sealed or capped.

Conformity Assessment Procedure

The purpose of the Conformity Assessment process is to verify if the regulated entities comply with the Project in question, for which reason they must obtain a report for each Land Seismic Survey and keep all the information to be submitted to the Inspection Unit if required.

Finally, it is relevant to mention that projects that are under execution from the pre-operational phase will not apply to this Project and will be subject to the regulations established at the time of the start of the respective project.

Publication link https://www.dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.php?codigo=5686354&fecha=21/04/2023#gsc.tab=0 

Authors

Juan Carlos Machorro
Partner
+52 55 5279 5463
jmachorro@s-s.mx

Heriberto Garza
Partner
+52 81 8133 6010
hgarza@s-s.mx

Claudia Rodríguez
Partner
+52 55 5279 5408
crodriguez@s-s.mx

Norma Álvarez
Associate
+52 55 5279 5415
norma.alvarez@s-s.mx

David González Vega
Associate
+52 55 5279 5456
david.gonzalez@s-s.mx