MEC Resources and 3D oil face protests over seismic plans

HUNDREDS of protesters and activists took to Nobby’s Beach in New South Wales this month to protest MEC Resources shared subsidiary Asset Energy’s planned seismic program over PEP11, though privately owned RL Energy will, under a farm in plan, earn a 55% share of the project in return for conducting 3D seismic work.
MEC Resources and 3D oil face protests over seismic plans MEC Resources and 3D oil face protests over seismic plans MEC Resources and 3D oil face protests over seismic plans MEC Resources and 3D oil face protests over seismic plans MEC Resources and 3D oil face protests over seismic plans

Protesters join hands in a moment of solidarity against seismic proposals. Image obtained Protect Our Coast Alliance.

The rally was organised by grassroots organisation Protect Our Coast Alliance who called on members of parliament to stop the upcoming 3D seismic program.

Federal Labor candidate for Robertson Anne Charlton committed to strengthening seismic testing legislation and said if she wins her seat and Labor forms government the party would conduct a review of seismic acquisition programs.

These are currently overseen by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority.

The review would also include extensive community consultation.

"I am committed to working with the community to make sure this happens. If we are elected, Labor will strengthen the law to make sure seismic exploration does not occur where whale life could be adversely affected," Charlton said.

"We will commission a review — one open to community consultation — into how we can strengthen the controls applied to all seismic exploration activities."

In an announcement last Friday MEC said its board of management were "unanimous in its belief" that 3D seismic data must be obtained over PEP11 to ensure the next drilling program in the permit had an optimal chance of success.

MEC and BPH Energy both share Advent Energy but are misaligned on the need for seismic survey. BPH head David Breeze used to head up MEC but is currently suing the company and six others for libel in the Western Australian Supreme Court.

The joint venture intends to lodge an EP with the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority in the short term.

Asset Energy has already conducted 2D seismic over PEP11. The survey highlighted what MEC calls some "interesting anomalies" within the tertiary sedimentary section. 

Seismic testing and hydrocarbon development has been controversial in that part of the state with Greens founder Bob Brown leading a protest in Newcastle last year.

Yesterday Energy News reported that 3D Oil had received the green light from the national regulator to acquire seismic in T/49P in the Otway Basin.

The Dorrigo seismic survey will be conducted across 1,580 sq.km some 18km west of King Island in Tasmania, in water depths between 100 and 840 metres.

Today Tasmanian Greens senators Peter Whish-Wilson and Nick McKim condemned the seismic program.

"This decision means we are one step closer to seeing oil rigs off Tasmania's coast," Whish-Wilson and McKim said in a joint release.

"The Greens will stand up for fishers and coastal communities in Tasmania and around the country. That's why we have drafted a private members bill to ban all new offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction to be introduced into the new parliament."

3D Oil's survey is expected to take around 35 to complete and will commence between September and October, a period that avoids the Bonney upwelling coastal period which attracts blue whales.