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MEDIA RELEASE - Seismic blasting: the unacceptable in search of the unnecessary

24 August 2022

International oilfield services company Schlumberger are teaming up with TGS, providers of energy data, to propose 3D seismic blasting over a 7.7 million hectare area in the Southern Ocean. If approved, this will be the largest seismic exploration project ever undertaken.

Seismic blasting has been shown to disrupt whales’ navigation, communication and ability to feed. In extreme cases it can cause permanent deafness in whales and other marine species. It kills zooplankton and baby crayfish. However the full range of impacts of releasing 250 decibel blasts of noise every 10 seconds into the ocean is little understood. Friends of the Earth recommends using the precautionary principle in ensuring the safety of marine life.

“Gas is damaging to our environment from exploration, through production and processing, and all the way to point of delivery. We know that we can’t afford to open up a single new gas project if we are to have any hope of avoiding warming of over 2°C, let alone 1.5°C; the limit of warming internationally agreed on to avoid catastrophic climate impacts.” said Freja Leonard, No More Gas campaigner for Friends of the Earth.

“It’s astonishing that seismic projects, which are implicated in mass whale strandings, are permitted in the search for what is increasingly considered an uneconomic and unacceptable fuel source,” she said. “It really is a case of the unacceptable in search of the unnecessary.”

Earlier this year, Gunditjmara Traditional Owners called for community support, launching a Citizens’ Protection Declaration, a public statement of opposition to seismic blasting as an exploration method along with any oil or gas production within their traditional waters.

“Friends of the Earth Melbourne are calling on the state and federal resources and environment ministers to refuse any further permits for this most potentially damaging seismic blasting project, and for any future oil or gas exploration within state and Commonwealth waters.” said Freja Leonard.

“Coastal communities and local industries are impacted by offshore gas activity, but the community engagement process has not engaged publicly with a cross-section of community; it has instead been limited and kept behind closed doors. This lack of transparency is extremely concerning.” she said.

For comment:
Freja Leonard - 0400 611 896
Friends of the Earth Gas Spokesperson

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