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Concerns about the future of the Bight
 

September 2019

A plan to probe the Great Australian Bight for gas and oil using seismic testing has been postponed until next year, according to the company behind the project.
In January, the national petroleum regulator granted exploration company Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) permission to carry out seismic blasting near Port Lincoln and Kangaroo Island.
The seismic testing was set to take place between September and November this year.
The testing involves setting off a series of underwater booms that send soundwaves through the ocean floor, and advocates have said the Bight could be developed into one of the biggest offshore oil fields in the world.
The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) granted permission for the testing to be done over a 30,100-square-kilometre area, located 80 kilometres from Port Lincoln and 90 kilometres west of Kangaroo Island.
Environment groups are celebrating the delay, and have said the technique to detect the presence of oil or gas reserves would hurt the environment.
However, Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association spokesman Matthew Doman said the process was safe and regulated.
"Those plans need to be approved by an independent science-based regulatory agency NOP-SEMA.
The fishing industry has also long had reservations about the impact seismic testing would have on the local tuna industry.
"There's no doubt that the seismic tests have a major impact on where the fish are and whether they come at all," he said.
He said it would "totally destroy" an industry which generated more than 2,000 jobs in South Australia.
"What's at stake here is not just money we're talking about a very large amount of jobs and sustainability as well," he said.

 

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