Bight survey plans rejected

TESTING: The PGS application for a seismic survey in the Great Australian Bight has been rejected. Picture: NOPSEMA
TESTING: The PGS application for a seismic survey in the Great Australian Bight has been rejected. Picture: NOPSEMA

An application by oil exploration company PGS to conduct a seismic survey south-west of Port Lincoln in the Great Australian Bight has been rejected by Australia’s national offshore oil and gas regulator.

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) said it was not “reasonably satisfied that the environment plan meets the criteria (and) is appropriate for the nature and scale of the activity (and) demonstrates that the environmental impacts and risks of the activity will be reduced to as low as reasonably practicable.”

However PGS can resubmit the application to NOPSEMA by June 25.

“There is an opportunity to modify and resubmit, and we will be looking at options to modify and resubmit our application,” PGS sales manager Alyse Blake said.

“We 100 per cent respect NOPSEMA and their decision.”

PGS proposed to acquire a Multi-client 3D and Multi-client 2D marine seismic survey in an area about 80 kilometres south-south west of Port Lincoln.

The proposed survey covers four petroleum exploration permit zones and a small amount of open acreage area, with water depths ranging from 100 meters to 3500m.

The Wilderness Society South Australia said NOPSEMA’s decision again demonstrated companies involved in oil and gas exploration could not reach the standard required to operate in the Bight.

“NOPSEMA has not approved any oil and gas exploration activities in the Bight for more than a year now,” director Peter Owen said.

“Statoil and the remaining oil and gas companies wanting to drill in the Great Australian Bight should see the writing on the wall and follow BP’s and Chevron’s lead in quitting all Bight operations.

“PGS, which planned on doing seismic surveys for possible use by Bight Petroleum and Brazil’s Karoon, has twice not been able to produce an acceptable plan for NOPSEMA after the regulator sent back its application in November.”

He said seismic testing could have an impact on whales and other marine life and that it was not possible to undertake any oil and gas exploration activities without having “unacceptable impacts”.