Last year the Andrews Government released five new oil and gas exploration blocks in the offshore Otway Basin in state waters, from Port Campbell to the South Australian border. They are part of the national 2018 Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release. The tender process for companies to apply closed on February 15, 2019. The department has said they had ‘good’ interest in the blocks, and will make a decision on successful bidders later in the year.
The companies who win the tender will then start to investigate what gas is there, partly using data from the Victorian government’s Gas Program. They will also look into how any gas might be extracted (one option is to drill gas wells onshore and then drill horizontally into offshore fields). Both desktop and field exploration would be undertaken (probably including seismic testing).
The government says it supports the development of new offshore gas. We believe that the time for new fossil fuels is long over and that if the government wants to be taken seriously on its climate credentials it should cancel this tender process and ban further offshore exploration for oil and gas.
There are a number of compelling reasons to cancel further offshore fossil fuel exploration:
- Climate science makes it abundantly clear that time is running out if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change, and that the vast majority of remaining fossil fuels need to stay in the ground if we are to avoid going over warming of 2oC (1)
- Opening up new fossil fuel reserves would be at odds with the government’s commitments as enshrined in the Climate Change Act 2017, which commits our state to a long-term emissions reduction target of net zero by 2050
- The government needs to announce emission reduction targets for 2025 and 2030 soon. These targets are intended to drive down emissions across the state and set a trajectory to net zero emissions. The government appointed an independent panel to advise on what the targets should be. He hope it will recommend deep initial targets. Opening up new gas operations will make it harder to meet ambitious, science based targets.
Time for a ban
The Andrews government did the right thing in establishing the first ever permanent ban on fracking in Australia. It is starting the hard work of transforming our energy sector through its major support for renewable energy. It’s time for them to do the right thing on offshore oil and gas.
Oregon is poised to permanently ban offshore drilling
New York has banned offshore oil and natural gas drilling along the New York coast
Italy has an 18-month moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration.
New Zealand has banned further exploration permits for oil and gas.
We believe that Victoria should do the same.
What do we want?
- We are calling on the government to cancel the tender process.
- The government should rule out further new offshore oil and gas development throughout the state (in Gippsland, Golden Beach Gas is pursuing new gas developments offshore from the 90 Mile Beach).
There are some things you can do to help the campaign:
1/ Sign our petition >>
2/ Sign your group on to our letter to the premier and cabinet >>
3/ Get the conversation going on social media. Tag the resources minister, Jaclyn Symes, and the premier, Daniel Andrews in posts and share the petition. #NoOffshoreGas
There is extra info and other ideas on things you can do available here >>
(1) For instance, research compiled by University College, London, shows that to have just a 50:50 chance of preventing a 2°C rise in global temperature, 88% of global coal reserves, 52% of gas reserves and 35% of oil reserves are unburnable and must be left in the ground. A 2°C rise in temperature has long been considered a threshold that should not be crossed given the potential for catastrophic consequences.