TGS 3D Seismic Blasting

A monster seismic blasting proposal could threaten marine life in the oceans off south-east Australia.

A data analytics company called TGS is proposing to conduct seismic blasting in 45,000 square kilometres of ocean in the Otway Basin between Victoria and Tasmania. If approved, this would be the largest 3D seismic blasting project on record globally.

The TGS proposal is situated in an area of incredible marine biodiversity. These oceans are home to Biologically Important Areas, critical habitat, and foraging and resting areas for threatened species, including the southern right whale, pygmy blue whale and Australian sea lion. Blasting would also occur over the Zeehan Marine Park and the Bonney Upwelling, a seasonal oceanographic system that stretches from Portland towards Kangaroo Island in South Australia. This powerful upwelling provides a haven for krill – tiny crustaceans that are vital to marine food webs.

If allowed to go ahead, this enormous area of our oceans, and the marine life that live there, will be repeatedly impacted by seismic blasting from 2024 through to 2027. Some areas of the TGS proposal have already been seismic blasted in the past 5 to 10 years.


Map of TGS' proposed seismic blasting. Not to exact scale and subject to change.


TGS is applying to carry out its proposal using a cheap and reckless permit called a Special Prospecting Authority (SPA). This permit allows companies to sidestep the annual acreage release process and avoid regulatory scrutiny, including passing the ‘fit and proper persons test’. The silent partner in this project, a company called SLB/Schlumberger, is being investigated by the Department of Public Prosecutions for its conduct during a 2020 seismic blasting survey in the Otway Basin, where the company allegedly seismic blasted over critical blue whale habitat and sensitive marine areas of the Bonney Upwelling.

The government regulator, NOPSEMA, opened a 30-day public comment period to collect feedback on TGS’s Environment Plan in July 2023. Over 30,000 people made submissions, with the vast majority opposing the proposal, including nearly 20,000 submissions made by Australian Marine Conservation Society supporters. This response sends a clear message that Australians overwhelmingly reject seismic blasting for offshore oil and gas in our oceans.

We need to turn the tide on harmful offshore oil and gas exploration. Take action now and tell Madeleine King to abolish seismic blasting Special Prospecting Authority permits.


Listen to radio: ‘Communities say NO but seismic blasting in the Otway Basin one step closer’ – 3CR Radio

Have a read: ‘Seismic search for gas risks marine life, say opponents’ – The Age