Seismic company drops out of oil-search process

CHARLESTON, SC — A seismic-blasting company that appealed to the federal government to override objections from the Carolinas has withdrawn its request for permits. 

In a two-paragraph letter addressed to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, WesternGeco Vice President Adil Mukhitov wrote that the agency should “consider the Application withdrawn, effective as of the date of this letter.” The letter is dated Sept. 4, 2020.

WesternGeco was one of several companies seeking permission to map potential drilling sites in the Atlantic Ocean. On Tuesday, the Trump administration barred for 10 years oil drilling off the coasts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina but left open the rest of the East Coast. The WesternGeco letter was sent before Trump’s announcement.

The Southern Environmental Law Center today released this statement, attributable to Senior Attorney Catherine Wannamaker who is heading the organization’s federal case against seismic blasting:

“The entire East Coast is unified in opposition to seismic blasting and oil drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, and this appears to be another recognition of that reality. But, like the President’s announcement this week, this isn’t a cause for celebration. Just as the other Atlantic states are still at risk for drilling, there are still other companies pursuing seismic blasting. We still have work to do.”


For more than 30 years, the Southern Environmental Law Center has used the power of the law to champion the environment of the Southeast. With more than 80 attorneys and nine offices across the region, SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect our natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region.

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