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HELP STOP ESSO FROM DUMPING 8 TOXIC OLD OIL RIGS INTO BASS STRAIT OFF THE COAST OF GIPPSLAND!

PLAN TO DUMP EIGHT TOXIC OIL PLATFORMS INTO BASS STRAIT

A multinational fossil fuel company has applied to the federal government to dump the majority of eight oil and methane platforms into the sea close to the Gippsland coast in Victoria.

Esso, which is owned by Woodside and ExxonMobil, wants to remove the topsides of the platforms before cutting the massive pylons, or jackets, and dumping them into the ocean.

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They have been found to contain high levels of asbestos, mercury, lead and other heavy metals, as well as thousands of tonnes of hazardous radioactive waste, technically enhanced and worsened in the extraction process.

Esso says that the will be creating so-called artificial reefs, but the level of toxins and radioactivity in the resulting sea life is likely to be high, given recent studies.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) is calling on the government to immediately reject the application, and to force the company to safely and responsibly remove all of the steel and other recyclable materials from the facilities.

Friends of the Earth Offshore Fossil Gas campaigner Jeff Waters says Esso is being deceptive, because it’s “rigs to reef” scheme is nothing but an attempt to save money.

“Esso has to rent a European decommissioning ship, so they are rushing to complete the Bass Strait decommissioning in one season,” Jeff Waters said.

“If they were to be forced to recycle the hundreds of thousands of tonnes of perfectly good steel, they’d need to hire such a ship over several years.”

“Esso’s toxic fish factory has to be stopped.”

“They’re using scientific studies that they paid for to justify turning the ocean off Gippsland into a toxic dump,” Waters said.

”Those retired oil platforms contain huge amounts of mercury and hazardous radioactive waste, which will poison the areas around them and render the sea life too dangerous to consume.”

“It’s also a waste of perfectly good steel that could be recycled and turned into much-needed wind turbine towers and bases.”
Friends of the Earth is also calling on the Victorian government to intervene.

“The state government needs steel to build wind turbine towers and bases,” Jeff Waters said.

“The state government should be picking up the phone to their federal colleagues today and demanding that this steel be recycled.

Friends of the Earth is calling on the government to extend the existing temporary decommissioning levy to force the oil and methane industry to pay for world-standard onshore breaking and recycling facilities.

THE MASSIVE NATIONAL PROBLEM

Australia is facing a cleanup bill of between $60.5b and $73b over the coming decade to deal with old offshore oil and gas facilities, according to two industry-sponsored studies.

That's about twice the current budget deficit that will be lost in foregone tax due to the fact the industry will claim the costs as a write-off.

Oil and gas companies are asking to dump most of the steel — equivalent to 14 Sydney Harbour Bridges — into the ocean. They have not accounted for the value of that steel or the carbon savings to be made by recycling it. 

Tell the government that industry should pay to clean up its own mess, by extending the existing offshore decommissioning levy.

Included in the cleanup:

• The removal (and hopefully recycling) of 57 platforms with a total weight of 755,000 tonnes.
• The disoisal of 11 floating facilities; 6700km of pipelines; 1500km of “umbilicals” and more than 500 subsea structures.
• About 1000 wells to plug, seal and monitor in perpetuity.

A series of industry-funded (but government run) Australian Rig Recycling Centres and a heavy-lifting fleet would create thousands of good, ongoing jobs.

The centres could also be used to break and recycle steel from the 1500 Southeast Asia platforms that need to be decommissioned by 2030, with profits being made available to the Traditional Owners whose sea country has been damaged.

Help us to urge the government to seize this opportunity to transform offshore gas and oil rig decommissioning in Australia by forming a new industry that will create thousands of direct and indirect jobs.

The growing number of redundant gas and oil assets off the coast would be towed or shipped to a large onshore facility to be cleaned and scrapped, with the steel and other products recycled.

The new facilities would be paid for by an extension to the existing offshore decommissioning levy, and any profits would be granted to Traditional Owners.

 

#RecycleTheRigs is an initiative of Friends of the Earth Australia