Chevron has reportedly donated thousands of dollars to the Liberal and Labor parties in Australia, in an alleged move to get offshore drilling support, a move not much appreciated by the Green Party.
Responding to the reports on Monday, The Green Party says the „tens of thousands of dollars“ may have been used to „buy influence“ and get support for its drilling plans offshore Australia.
Green Party’s Senator Sarah Hanson-Young will move an amendment to the government’s Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment Bill 2016, aiming to permanently ban drilling for oil in the Great Australian Bight, which is listed for debate on Tuesday.
The Federal Senate will vote on whether to ban drilling there on Tuesday.
Commenting on the reports on Chevron’s donations Greens Senator for South Australia Hanson-Young said: “The public is rightly worried that this money has bought Chevron influence in both the Liberal and Labor parties. If Labor and the Liberals want the public to believe they can’t be bought, supporting this amendment is the first test.”
“These politicians should be protecting the Great Australian Bight and the thousands of South Australian fisheries and tourism jobs that rely on it, not their foreign corporate donors.
Drilling in 2018
In October 2013, Chevron Australia acquired two deepwater exploration permits located in the GAB’s Commonwealth marine waters.
The company describes the area, located approximately 300 kilometers west of Port Lincoln off the southern Australian coast, as one of Australia’s most prospective frontier hydrocarbon exploration regions.
Chevron plans to drill four exploration wells in its Bight licenses, two wells in each permit. Drilling could be expected in 2018.
In November 2016, Chevron started work on the Environment Plan for the project, and said it would, early in 2017, formally start stakeholder engagement before lodging the Environment Plan with NOPSEMA, Australia’s offshore oil and gas safety regulator.
Speaking in favor of Chevron’s drilling plans and trying to alleviate safety concerns, David Moffat Exploration General Manager Chevron Australia in November 206 said thatin Australia, “since our first year of deepwater exploration in 1987, we have drilled more than 80 wells off Western Australia without a single Loss of Well Control incident”.”
“That is 80 wells we have drilled successfully and safely with no impact on the environment. Of the 33 wells we have drilled in Australia since NOPSEMA’s commencement in 2012, we have drilled 19 wells in deep water at water depths greater than 1,000m,” Moffat said, adding that “Industry and the environment can and do coexist – we have the skills, experience and capacity to prove this in the Bight.”
To remind, following the pressure and several rejections of its drilling plans by the Australian oil regulator, another oil giant, BP, in October 2016, withdrew its plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight.
The move was welcomed by the environmentalists, but disappointing to the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association.
Following the news on BP’s pulling out of GAB drilling plans, APPEA’s Director South Australia Matthew Doman said in October: “With proper regulatory oversight and appropriate community consultation there is no reason why further exploration cannot deliver South Australia must needed new investment and jobs”.
The Australian Greens’ Hanson-Young also commented on the jobs and environment aspects of Chevron’s proposed Great Australia Bight exploration.
In a statement on Monday, she said:”“Not only would drilling in the Bight put the environment at risk, but this was a dud project for South Australian workers as well, with most of the jobs going to people from overseas.”
Offshore Energy Today has reached out to Chevron seeking comments on the Greens’ allegations.
Chevron responded:”Chevron Australia participates in political party business forums on a bipartisan basis in States in which it operates. In South Australia, Chevron Australia is a member of Labor’s South Australia Progressive Business and the Liberal’s FutureSA. Membership fees are fully disclosed to electoral authorities.”
Offshore Energy Today Staff