United States fossil fuel giant ConocoPhillips is proposing to conduct test drilling for fossil gas in two locations off the coast of Victoria and Tasmania(1), including over the Zeehan Marine Park!
ConocoPhillips is proposing up to six exploration wells from January 2024, in preparation for future plans to start mining for fossil gas(2). These test drilling proposals are the first step for the company to progress to full scale mining of fossil gas in these areas.
The two areas off Victoria (lease VIC/P79) and Tasmania (T/49P) are some of the largest areas of ocean that have been handed over to oil and gas companies in southeast Australia. The harm posed to our oceans is serious; these areas are home to blue whales, southern right whales, pygmy blue whales, orca, countless species of fish, rare sharks and unique cool temperate marine ecosystems that all make up our Great Southern Reef.
But this is not a done deal. The regulator still needs to approve ConocoPhillips plans, and in coming weeks the Australian community will have the chance to provide comments to companies and the government on why we need to stop these plans for test drilling in our oceans and turn the tide on oil and gas in our oceans and marine parks.
Australia must stop approving new oil and gas mining to save the climate, and especially in our oceans where the impacts can be devastating to marine life and coastal communities.