REPORT: Blasting our Ocean: Woodside’s Dangerous Seismic Plan
13 December 2022
Woodside Energy aims to start risky seismic surveying for its Scarborough gas project before the end of 2022. The process uses underwater airguns to blast powerful sound waves towards the seabed to assess fossil fuel reservoirs beneath the ocean floor.
The area Woodside plans to conduct seismic surveying in is in proximity to whale migration routes and close to the UNESCO-protected Ningaloo Reef. Seismic surveying can seriously injure whales and potentially kill other marine life. A growing body of research indicates that this noise pollution can damage, sometimes permanently, the hearing of whales and fish, as well as kill important prey species like plankton. Greenpeace believes that Woodside’s plan poses a particular threat to pygmy blue whales. This includes conducting seismic blasting activities during the endangered pygmy blue whale migration periods.
A worst-case scenario accident during seismic surveying could impact marine wildlife almost 1,000km away, potentially affecting four Marine Protected Areas.