Media release. December 28, 2018. Friends of the Earth.
Community mobilises against oil and gas exploration in western VIC
The Andrews government has released five oil and gas exploration blocks in the offshore Otway Basin in state waters (up to 3 nautical miles off the coast) extending from Port Campbell to the South Australian border.
They are currently open for tender (proposals close on February 15).
More than 1,300 square kilometres of coastal waters and coastline in western Victoria has been opened up to gas exploration, and may include the potential for drilling from onshore to access offshore fields, “subject to regulatory approvals".
National environmental organisation Friends of the Earth opposes any new onshore or offshore oil or gas production.
“We worked with rural communities in western Victoria to help win the ban on fracking and the moratorium on onshore conventional gas drilling” said Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator. “The ban and moratorium were widely supported because they protect land, water, farming and local economies. Now we call on the Andrews government to show the same leadership and ban new offshore oil and gas exploration.”
“This is the first time Victoria's western coast has been opened up for onshore drilling since early 2015, when it took place near Peterborough to access two offshore gasfields.”
“We know that offshore oil has many risks – to whales and other large marine animals, and brings the risk of an oil spill, which could be disastrous for the marine and coastal environment and local economies which rely on tourism.
But there are also serious concerns about climate change: science makes it abundantly clear that time is running out if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change. Burning fossil fuels for our energy needs is the single most significant driver of global warming.
Research compiled by University College, London, shows that to have just a 50:50 chance of preventing a 2°C rise in global temperature, at least 88% of global coal reserves, 52% of gas reserves and 35% of oil reserves 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. The world is currently on track for a catastrophic 3 to 4oC of warming by the end of this century.
The International Energy Agency says “we have no room to build anything that emits CO2 emissions.”
“The Andrews government did the right thing in establishing the first ever permanent ban on fracking in Australia. It’s time for them to do the right thing on offshore oil and gas”.
“We call on the government to cancel the tender process for offshore oil and gas exploration in the Otway Basin in western Victoria”.
“We also urge the government to follow the lead of the New Zealand government, who have announced they will not grant any further offshore oil exploration permits as part of a plan to transition towards a carbon-neutral future.”
A petition opposing the exploration has been launched and is available here.
A sign on letter for local organisations and businesses is available here.
Background information on the threats of oil and gas drilling is available here.