Woodside tricks revealed under freedom of information

Woodside planned to offset damage caused by the dumping of a 2,529 tonne steel and plastic mooring next to the Ningaloo World Heritage area by picking up plastic litter from beaches, documents released under the scheme reveal of freedom of information.

The documents show the federal Department of the Environment was concerned that ‘very highly toxic’ plastics in the mooring had the potential to harm human health and marine life and described Woodside’s ‘beach cleanup’ plan as “doubtful”.

The offshore oil regulator – NOPSEMA – cleared the proposal to reject the mooring at sea. But it was stopped by the Federal Department of the Environment following opposition from conservationists and the World Heritage Advisory Committee from the Ningaloo coast.

The department found that Woodside’s proposal for an “artificial reef” was inconsistent with international protocols that prevent the dumping of waste into the ocean.

Woodside is now offering to tow the mooring line to shore, which the company previously said was impossible.

Woodside is expected to acquire BHP’s oil assets if the deal is approved at a May 19 meeting. These assets include 10 rigs and 180 wells off the Gippsland coast which are due to be cleaned up by 2027.

“We need stronger laws and regulations to govern the dismantling of these toxic facilities because we know industry will try to cut costs at the expense of the environment and the community every time,” Nathaniel said. Pelle, ACF activist.

“The prospect of Woodside taking responsibility for BHP’s aging oil and gas facilities around Australia, including in Bass Strait, should put coastal communities on high alert.

“Woodside has made the mess – and billions of dollars – now it needs to be cleaned up after itself. That goes for any liabilities it may inherit from BHP.

“Decommissioning these facilities is a costly exercise and the responsibility must lie with companies like Woodside, who have earned millions of dollars extracting resources and damaging the environment in the process.”

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