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Environment, Government Federal


Friends of the Earth 2 mins read
Rusting old Esso rigs full of asbestos, hydrocarbons and hazardous radioactive waste


Pollution kept secret by regulator

Massive ecological disaster on the cards

Another tragic warning about Esso's capacity to clean up its massive mess in Bass Strait has come in the form of a new toxic chemical spill.

But the secret spill was only exposed due to questions posed to the industry-friendly "regulator," the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) by Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson. 

It was revealed that a spill was methane condensate, which mixes with water and so does not leave an evident slick. The condensate largely dissolves to create catastrophic consequences for surrounding sea life.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) Offshore Fossil Gas Campaigner Jeff Waters said taxpayers should be angry at the fact NOPSEMA didn't make news of the spill public when in happened, and that recent spills were an indication Esso's rushed and irresponsible clean up proposals for more than a dozen rusting old oil and gas platforms would likely be a disaster.

"First of all," Jeff Waters said, "this is yet another of example of how NOPSEMA is incapable of ensuring environmental safety in the offshore gas industry."

"It shows how cozy they are with industry that they wouldn't let anybody know this toxic spill had happened."

"But secondly, Esso is proposing to dump hundreds of thousands of tonnes of perfectly good, recyclable steel in Bass Strait, and then ship more than a dozen "topsides" and hundreds of thousands of tonnes of other waste up onto a beach next to, and just a few centimetres above, a Ramsar-listed wetland at Corner Inlet."

"They want to save as much money as possible by doing it all quickly in one season, rather than taking time and shipping all of the waste to an empty brownfield site in the Port of Geelong, which Esso discounted because it would cost more."

"Given the fact they can't stop spills at sea while these rusting hulks are still stationary, one can only imagine the scale of the environmental disaster we are about to witness in and off Gippsland."

Friends of the Earth has started a petition to stop Esso's plans before they are approved:


Key Facts:

- New (second) toxic spill in Bass Straut revealed

- "Regulator" keeps it secret

- Rushed cheap Esso decommissioning plans likely to cause an ecological catastrophe

Contact details:

Jeff Waters

0498 111 261

Offshore Fossil Gas Campaigner


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