The Australian oil and gas industry has a strong commitment to high environmental standards and minimising environmental impacts.
Before beginning a project, companies undertake research to establish environmental baseline data. This helps define potential impacts and develop environmental impact statements and management plans. Environmental risks are identified and strategies for minimising those risks are evaluated.
The amount of research required will vary depending on the nature, size and potential environmental impact of an activity. In cases where the environment is sensitive or the activity is complex, more detailed research may be commissioned.
APPEA member companies work to:
- identify risks and implement strategies for reducing environmental impacts
- collaborate with each other by sharing information and by developing and implementing environmental research and management programs
- inform the community and regulators about what the industry is doing to understand, minimise and manage environmental risks.
High environmental standards
Oil and gas is a highly regulated industry that operates under strict guidelines and is answerable to several federal and state government agencies. Exploration and production operations are guided by strong rules on environmental management, water management, land access and other issues.
The Australian oil and gas industry has proved time and again that it can operate in sensitive environments and co-exist with other land uses.
In Queensland’s Western Downs region, a rapidly growing onshore gas sector co-exists with farming and grazing.
There are numerous offshore oil and gas operations off Australia’s west coast and none off its east coast. Yet Australia’s east coast and west coast humpback populations are growing at almost identical rates. Indeed, the Western Australian humpback whale population is growing at close to its biologically possible maximum rate.
Oil and gas has been produced on Barrow Island, off the coast of northwest Australia, for more than 45 years. The industry operates without significantly impairing the island’s ecosystem – indeed Barrow remains an A-Class Nature Reserve where many rare and endangered species are flourishing. The industry has invested substantially in significant environmental research on and around Barrow and runs the world’s largest non-government quarantine management program. Despite all of the activity on Barrow, no non-indigenous species have been introduced to the island or its surrounding waters.