The environmentalists are fuming following an announcement by Karoon Gas Australia on Friday, that the company had won an exploration permit in the Great Australian Bight, offshore South Australia.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific has deemed the decision by the Australian authorities a ‘mockery of crucial debate,’ referring to recent scrutiny of BP’s proposed drilling program in the area.
BP’s drilling plan, being reviewed by the Australian regulator NOPSEMA, has been described by Greenpeace as ‘full of holes’ and ‘too dangerous to be approved.’
And while the BP plan is being reviewed, Australian oil company Karoon has won an exploration permit in the area. The eastern portion of the Permit includes a Commonwealth marine reserve running through it.
“If Karoon goes ahead, an oil spill from their permit area would pollute the coasts of Kangaroo Island and Port Lincoln even faster than a spill from BP’s proposed rig. Unbelievably, the permit area also overlaps with marine reserves,” Greenpeace said.
Worth noting, Karoon’s 3-year firm commitment does not require any drilling, but 2D and 3D seismic survey. Also, the company itself has acknowledged the area is environmentally sensitive, adding it would be monitoring the progress of the current committed drilling programs nearby and make an assessment of the environmental risks following those campaigns prior to committing to any exploration drilling.”
Greenpeace, however, sees any drilling in the area as potentially catastrophic.
“The Great Australian Bight should not be for sale. Yet BP, Statoil, Chevron, Murphy, Santos, Bight Petroleum and now Karoon are gearing up to turn precious natural heritage on our doorstep into the next Gulf of Mexico. Any of the 15 or more planned oil rigs could be the next Deepwater Horizon,” the organization said on Friday.
“The Great Australian Bight cannot become the next Gulf of Mexico or the Niger Delta. The regulators don’t seem to be accounting for this, or the cumulative effects of a fully developed oil province,” it added, “we have to stop this lunatic oil grab now, starting with the first offenders: BP.”
Offshore Energy Today Staff