Government willing to risk whales’ lives in hunt for oil in the Great Australian Bight

SYDNEY, Jan 15, 2018 - NOPSEMA’s decision to allow PGS to search for oil [1] off the coast of South Australia’s Kangaroo Island and Eyre Peninsula will be a disaster for coastal communities, pose a potentially lethal threat to the region’s marine life and jeopardise the multi-million dollar fishing industry.

The marine geophysics firm has been granted permission to conduct seismic testing at a site 51km from Cape Carnot, Eyre Peninsula, 90km west of Kangaroo Island and 80km southwest of Port Lincoln, where Norwegian oil giant Equinor plans to drill for oil.

Seismic testing is a process used in the search for offshore oil and gas where underwater explosions are used to create intensely loud sound waves which can be up to 260 decibels, the equivalent of the epicentre of a hand grenade, and damaging or lethal to marine life nearby. [2]

“It’s deeply disappointing that NOPSEMA has chosen to ignore communities, the fishing industry, Traditional Owners and scientists, who have repeatedly warned of the need to protect the Bight from the catastrophic threat of deep sea oil drilling,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Campaigner, Nathaniel Pelle, said.

“The only reason to conduct seismic survey is to find locations to drill for oil, putting coastlines at further risk from an oil spill. Seismic blasting has a devastating impact on marine life. It has been likened to being next to an exploding grenade and these deafening blasts will detonate every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, for more than 90 days.

“NOPSEMA has put in place so-called safeguards that it has no way to uphold and which offer no guarantee that endangered blue and southern right whales, not to mention other marine life not accounted for in the restrictions, will not be harmed.”

“These endangered whales are routinely sighted in the proposed area of operations during the time PGS have been granted permission to blast their cannons.”

“It will shock people that the oil companies have effectively been granted permission by the Australian Government to do harm to the Bight’s whales and dolphins and other ocean life by blasting their air cannons for 13 straight weeks – across a 10,000 square kilometre area of ocean just a short boat ride from Kangaroo Island and Port Lincoln.”






For interviews contact:

Martin Zavan

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner

0424 295 422 / [email protected]