ESSO DUMPS “RIGS TO REEFS” OPTION
But regulators should drop dredging mandate.
Friends of the Earth Australia (FoEA) is congratulating Esso Australia for saying it has rejected the idea of dumping retired oil and gas platforms into the ocean to form fishing reefs.
In Melbourne consultations, Esso told FoAE the good environmental news that they would now remove the platforms — including the long steel support structures or ‘jackets’ — from the ocean.
In doing so, Esso (a company owned by ExxonMobil) said it acknowledged the science that does not support the artificial reefs idea. Esso is planning to remove 13 retired oil and gas platforms from Bass Strait in coming years.
But industry regulators are telling Esso that they should dredge around the pylons that need to be removed so that they can be cut off below the seabed.
Friends of the Earth believes that, for the sake of the surrounding environment, dredging should be avoided at all costs, and that the jacket pylons should be cut as close as possible to the seabed instead.
FoEA Offshore Fossil Gas Campaigner Jeff Waters said that the hundreds of thousands of tonnes of steel for the jackets could now be brought ashore for recycling.
“Victoria needs steel to build wind turbines,” Jeff Waters said, “and we can use renewable electricity to recycle the steel from the platforms.”
“What we need now is a world’s best practice, state of the art oil platform recycling yard, which will trap all toxins as the platforms are broken down, cleaned and recycled.”
Jeff Waters said a site in Geelong was being considered for a recycling centre, and that South Australia was also hoping to get into the act by building a heavy-lifting ship for decommissioning.
“It’s a $60 billion national industry waiting to happen,” Jeff Waters said.
“The government should extend and raise the temporary oil and gas decommissioning levy to make industry pay for it.”
“It’s a drop in the ocean for them.”
Jeff Waters said FoEA would be lobbying the industry regulator, NOPSEMA, to ensure that no dredging takes place.
- Esso dumps plans to try to convert retired oil platforms into so-called 'artificial reefs'
- FoEA welcomes the win; vows to lobby national regulator to avoid dredging
Offshore Fossil Gas Campaigner
Friends of the Earth Australia
0498 111 261