Just ten days after getting permission to continue operations at their Kimberley Oil Spill site, the Montara spill company is seeking permission for new oil fields off Australia’s North West coast.
It also comes just weeks after BP was given permission by the Government to open new deepwater oil fields offshore from South Australia for exploration, despite the damning results of the inquiry into the Gulf Oil Spill.
The company claims they have a ‘satisfactoy record of environmental performance’, and that their response to Montara is evidence of that! This is the spill that leaked oil into the ocean for 10 weeks in the pristine oceans off Australia’s remote Kimberley region. A Goverment inquiry found they had ‘failed to observe sensible oilfield practices.’
It is amazing that an oil company in Australia could be so confident of approvals that they can claim one of Australia’s biggest ever oil spills as evidence of their environmental credentials. This looks like a big test of the Australian Government’s commitment to protecting our oceans and regulating the oil industry.
It is also a strong demonstration of why our most special marine areas need to be protected from irresponsible operators by a network of marine sanctuaries.
Currently oil leases already cover one quarter of Western Australia’s oceans – including sensitive areas like Exmouth Gulf, offshore from Ningaloo Reef, Jurien Bay Marine Park and offshore from Margaret River – yet less than one percent of our waters are protected from drilling.