Energy company withdraws seismic testing application
Advent Energy has withdrawn its application to conduct 3D seismic testing in waters off the Central Coast.
Advent Energy managing director Mr David Breeze said on January 21, that the existing application for seismic testing in coastal waters from Manly to Newcastle had been withdrawn and no further applications would be sought.
Community group Save Our Coast has claimed a major win for the local community.
Group founder Dr Natasha Deen said the group still had major concerns as drilling for gas was still on the table and seismic testing was still allowable under legislation.
She feared it could resurface here or along other parts of the coastline.
The announcement followed the resolution of a long-running legal dispute in the Supreme Court of Western Australia, which saw Mr Breeze reappointed as managing director, having previously been deposed, and the termination of an agreement with RL Energy to fund the Environmental Plan for 3D seismic testing for PEP11.
"Advent Energy will revert to its pre-existing plan to undertake drilling in the Baleen and Fish Basins in the PEP11 permit zone," Mr Breeze said.
"The current program requires drilling as the next step."
Mr Breeze said the decision to abandon future 3D seismic testing was based largely on independent, technical, geological advice that indicated it was not necessary.
He would not comment on the extent or timeline of future drilling activity but said there would be public announcements in due course.
"The shortage of gas in NSW, including the Hunter and Central Coast, continues and the PEP11 resource may become a vital asset for the future energy needs of households, businesses, industry and related employment," he said.
Mr Breeze said he recognized the importance of community consultation in any future exploration and drilling activity.
Dr Deen hailed the announcement as a "reprieve for our marine animals" which she said the group's supporters had helped achieve.
She said a 56,000 strong petition would be presented to Federal Parliament on February 4.
"This cancellation of seismic testing demonstrates the power of community spirit, that what we are doing is having an impact but it is far from over," she said.
"We will continue to oppose this offshore gas field, and possible further seismic testing, every step of the way."
Meanwhile a public hearing of a Senate inquiry into the impact of seismic testing on fisheries and the marine environment is scheduled to be held in Gosford on March 17, at a venue yet to be announced.
It will be one of several public hearings to be held along the eastern seaboard, and in Tasmania, during February and March.
Submissions from former Gosford councillor Mr Peter Freewater, the Peninsula Environment Group and Save Our Coast were among those received.
Media statement, 21 Jan 2020
Senate Environment Committee, Parliament of Australia
Media statement, 22 Jan 2020
Natasha Deen, Save Our Coast
Interview (Terry Collins), 22 Jan 2020
David Breeze, Advent Energy