Following a failure of Woodside Energy to submit revised environmental plans for several of its facilities, the fossil fuel giant is in breach of Australia’s environmental laws – further proof that Woodside can’t be trusted when it comes to protecting our environment, Greenpeace Australia Pacific said today.

The revelations follow questions to the offshore regulator NOPSEMA at Senate Estimates overnight.

Comments attributable to Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO David Ritter:

“Companies with oil and gas rigs are required to have environmental management plans. These are a critical part of our regulatory framework and require developers to explain how their actions might impact our precious natural environment.

“Under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Environment) Regulations 2023 the plans must be revised every 5 years so that changes to these risks can be properly scrutinised.

“Greenpeace Australia Pacific is concerned to learn that Woodside is in breach of these important environmental laws.

“Woodside’s legacy of toxic spills, accidents, and leaving oil and gas infrastructure rusting in the ocean despite orders from Australian authorities, shows that the company can’t be trusted when it comes to protecting our environment.

“Woodside’s operations are continuing at three facilities despite their last environment plans being accepted over five years ago, and revised environment plans not having been submitted for consideration by NOPSEMA. These include:

  • the Macedon operations which was due to have a revised environment plan submitted to NOPSEMA by about 15/10/2023;
  • the Vincent Maersk Ngujima-Yin FPSO operations on which the environment plan was due to be submitted by about 28/11/2023; and
  • the Pyrenees facility operations which was due to have a revised environment plan submitted by about 3/1/2024.

“NOPSEMA confirmed in Senate Estimates that it issued an informal extension to Woodside on these environment plans, but that doesn’t go far enough.

“Greenpeace Australia Pacific is now urging NOPSEMA to exercise its powers to issue a directions notice to Woodside to force compliance with the requirement to submit revised environment plans.

“Ahead of an expected decision from the Federal Environment Minister concerning Woodside Energy’s climate-wrecking Burrup Hub project – the most polluting fossil fuel project currently proposed in Australia – we urge the Minister to take note of these concerns.

“Federal Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, is reviewing Woodside’s plans to exploit the Browse gas field – a key part of the Burrup Hub project. This would require drilling up to 50 wells around Scott Reef, Australia’s largest stand-alone coral reef atoll and a vital habitat for pygmy blue whales and green sea turtles. The project would also require building a 900km-long pipeline through two marine parks.

“A decision to rule out Woodside’s Burrup Hub is a decision to save Scott Reef and prevent untold environmental harm.”

Greenpeace’s report into the potential risks of Woodside’s Burrup Hub project is here.

Images of the stunning, pristine Scott Reef are available for hi-res download here. Additional photos and materials can be made available on request.