December 9, 2012

Recent suggestions by green groups that offshore seismic surveys pose a risk to the Australian marine environment lack substance and ignore history.

Seismic surveying is an essential part of producing a detailed image of geology beneath the earth’s surface. It is vital in exploring for oil and gas in Australia’s offshore waters and ultimately in producing energy to power our homes and businesses.

For more than four decades, seismic surveying and countless research projects (both in Australia and world-wide) have shown no evidence to suggest that sound from oil and gas exploration activities in normal operating circumstances has harmed marine species.

The oil and gas industry uses environmental management plans to ensure operations are conducted safely and with the utmost regard to the environment in which it is working. Survey timing, observation zones, low power zones and other measures are designed to reduce any interaction with marine species.

These management plans are subject to strict regulatory oversight and are the product of scientific environmental research that the industry regularly undertakes to maintain best practice management standards and further the community’s knowledge of Australia’s marine environment.

As in all areas of public policy, decisions concerning our marine environment should be based on science and history not hysteria.

David Byers is APPEA’s Chief Executive.