ROI Analysis on Seismic Operations


A ROI study was performed to determine Mysticetus’ value-add on anthropogenic activities. This study was performed in conjunction with the seismic operator who executed this ocean bottom survey. The operation took place in 2015. The goal of the analysis was to focus on measurable events providing obvious cost savings that Mysticetus enabled. This was accomplished by full review of the survey and taking into consideration only obvious cases of operational delay prevention. Not measured were positive impacts on operational efficiencies due to features which support training, operation planning, survey data QC assurance, and reporting tasks.

The analysis resulted in a conservatively estimated operational cost savings in excess of $ 1.6 million USD. The results were reviewed and accepted by the surveyor.

Typical map display seen by all MMOs on all ships (identified here) in Real Time:

Mysticetus map view

Analysis Approach:

Review all mission data to identify obvious examples where Mysticetus clearly prevented loss or idle mission time in comparison to traditional methods.

  • Animal sightings were analyzed to determine savings where Mysticetus brought value in immediately identifying animal location relative to exclusion zones (EZ).
  • Determination was made of obvious events of prevented shut downs and delays to clearing operations that would have occurred using traditional methods.

Secondary efficiency improvements were noted, but not included in this study, such as preparation of take estimates, improvements to crew coordination, and automatic generation of all required reports.

Reference Project:

    • Two seismic source vessels: “Source 1” & “Source 2”
    • One mitigation vessel: “Mit 1”
    • Project length of four months


The below image is an example of a clearing delay prevented:

In this example:

The Mitigation vessel’s MMOs have spotted a harbor porpoise, M-13. It was instantly plotted in Mysticetus and reflected to all PSOs showing M-13’s position relative to the EZ (M-12 an earlier sighting).

Result: Clearing delay successfully avoided.


This next image is an example of a shutdown prevented:

Mit 1 PSO identified a harbor seal, M1-20, approximately 800m off port side (circled in blue). All PSOs were able to review this sighting on their PCs and confirm.

Traditionally, shutdown would have occurred to allow determination of the exact location of the seal.  Source 1 and 2 continued running with full guns.

Result: ShutDown successfully prevented.

Analysis Summary:

Analysis was made across a 4 month project.  

Hourly costs assumed the vessels were 100% efficient. This assumption resulted in the lowest possible hourly cost being calculated. This value was multiplied by the number of idle hours prevented to determine the cost savings estimate:

  Mysticetus savings of over $1.6 million USD

Additional efficiencies not measured include:

  • Provision of harassment take estimation
  • Survey route planner and interpretation
  • Reduced dependency on the vessel team: captain, nav crew, etc, to verify compliance
  • The ease, quality, and accuracy of automated report generation for daily, weekly, and project summary accounting
  • GIS analysis tools minimize outsourcing
  • The full impact of knowledge being readily shared across all vessels during operations
  • Ability to remotely observe the ongoing mission from the home office
  • Data value in managing operational violation complaints from outside agencies
  • Provision of a secondary data source of the measure of effort
  • Simulator feature for dry-run training of MMO’s including sighting and mitigation events


  • With the simplest of assumptions, Mysticetus brings clear operational cost savings to anthropogenic operations
  • Mysticetus’ highly accurate data capture eliminates the guesswork in estimating marine mammal location
  • Simplifying data validation through the visualization tool and automated report generation features provide significant labor savings
  • Interconnection of all observers’ stations provides a common view of sightings for all