Gas pipeline rupture at ageing rig exposes need for stronger regulation of offshore fossil fuel industry

Australian Greens

The Greens have today raised concerns about NOPSEMA’s regulation of the offshore fossil fuel industry following a pipeline rupture at an ageing gas rig off the Victorian coast, causing pollution visible on the ocean’s surface.

The pipeline linking two Esso/ExxonMobil platforms is being investigated by NOPSEMA as the source of a suspected hydrocarbon spill.

Esso is currently applying to use the Gippsland Basin for sea dumping carbon capture and storage (CCS).

As stated by Greens spokesperson for healthy oceans, Peter Whish-Wilson:

“Australia desperately needs stronger laws and regulations to govern the offshore fossil fuel industry. The current regulatory framework doesn’t provide sufficient environmental or economic protection from impacts of the offshore oil and gas sector – including impacts relating to the decommissioning of ageing and toxic offshore oil and gas rigs.

“NOPSEMA is supposed to have oversight and regulate the environmental management of the offshore fossil fuel industry, but coastal communities are fast losing confidence in the ‘independent’ regulator, which has become more of an enabler than an investigator of offshore oil and gas projects.

“Big fossil fuel corporations make millions from Australia’s offshore oil and gas fields and repeatedly get away with failing to clean up after themselves.

“If Esso cannot manage to decommission rig infrastructure safely I highly doubt it’s capable of carrying out risky carbon capture and storage it has planned for the region.

“These corporations simply cannot be trusted and are only concerned with their bottom line – they will always try to cut costs at the expense of the environment and the taxpayer who is left to clean up their mess, so it’s critical that NOPSEMA’s investigation into the Esso/ExxonMobil pipeline rupture is carried out with the utmost transparency.”

/Public Release. View in full here.