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Scientific Direction

Pollution Prevention and Safety Panel (PPSP)

The Pollution Prevention and Safety Panel (PPSP) gave independent advice to the Operations Committee (OPCOM) and to the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) on potential safety and pollution hazards that may exist because of general and specific geologic circumstances of proposed drill sites.


"All drilling operations involve the chance of accident or pollution. The principal geologic safety and pollution hazard in ocean drilling is the possible release of substantial quantities of hydrocarbons from subsurface reservoir strata. In most deep sea regions, the risk of hydrocarbon release can be reduced or eliminated by careful planning and proper site surveys. Additionally, safety problems may arise in drilling hot hydrothermal systems for lithosphere targets.

Those who plan each ODP cruise and select its drilling sites are initially responsible to propose only sites that are considered reasonably safe. The JOIDES Pollution Prevention and Safety Panel independently reviews each site to determine if drilling operations can be conducted safely.

The preliminary site survey information and the operational plan are reviewed for each site. Advice is communicated in the form of:

  • site approval,
  • lack of approval, or
  • approval on condition of minor site relocation or amendment of the operational plan. Approval is based on the judgment of the Panel that a proposed site can be safely drilled in light of the available information and planning."


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