Exmouth, May 2023: Greenpeace Australia Pacific has released never-before-seen footage of a discarded oil tower owned by Woodside, which has been allowed to sink to the ocean floor off the coast of Onslow, Western Australia, posing a hazard.

© Greenpeace

Greenpeace’s startling footage, captured by an underwater drone, reveals that the tower, which is approximately 100 metres tall, is visibly deteriorating. It sank upright, with the top of the structure 47 metres below sea level. Greenpeace is calling on the company to remove the tower urgently and dispose of it safely on land.

The oil tower, formerly part of BHP’s Griffin Field, is now owned by Woodside after it acquired BHP’s oil and gas assets last year. 

Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO David Ritter said that the sunken oil tower footage shows that Woodside and the gas industry cannot be trusted to protect our oceans.

“After almost two decades in environmental activism it takes a lot to shock me, but the sheer arrogance of Woodside and BHP in thinking they can leave a 100 metre high piece of industrial waste lying in the ocean is breathtaking,” he said.

“This is not a small structure; it’s the size of an apartment block, and it’s visibly rusting and decaying on the ocean floor in an area full of marine wildlife including whales and several dolphin species. For Woodside to think it can just leave this piece of junk hidden down there shows that this company can’t be trusted with our oceans.

“Woodside could be facing up to a nine billion dollar clean-up bill for the discarded oil and gas infrastructure it has left in Australian waters, much of which it acquired from BHP last year. Investors should be asking Woodside hard questions about the company’s decommissioning liabilities – and just how many other dirty, expensive secrets it has hidden at sea.

“The offshore oil and gas regulator NOPSEMA has ordered that this tower be removed but Woodside and BHP have so far failed to do so. Greenpeace demands that Woodside complies with the regulator, urgently removes this structure and disposes of it safely on land.”

To locate the sunken oil tower, the Greenpeace team used a light industrial use underwater drone. In the startling footage, the oil tower is revealed to be visibly rusting and decrepit in a location full of wildlife. Cetaceans observed by the Greenpeace team at the site include spinner dolphins and oceanic bottlenose dolphins, as well as numerous sharks and other fish.


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Vision and photos of the tower are available at this link.

Photos of Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO David Ritter are available at this link.




  1. BHP finished extracting oil from the Griffin field in September 2009. Between January and May 2013, the Riser Turret Mooring lost buoyancy and sank to the seabed. In 2017, BHP plugged or closed off production wells in the Griffin field. Wellheads were left in place and production trees laid on the seabed.
  2. In August 2021, the offshore regulator NOPSEMA ordered BHP to remove the oil tower and all other all property in the field, including subsea wells, gas pipelines, flowline and riser systems, control system, subsea structures and property, including skids, assemblies, manifolds and other small structures. 
  3. On 1 June 2022, BHP’s petroleum business merged with Woodside. Woodside took ownership of the Griffin RTM as part of the acquisition. 


For more information or to arrange an interview contact Kimberley Bernard on 0407 581 404 or [email protected]