Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Offshore Oil Well Leaked for Months, Public Kept in Dark for a Year

Popular
Offshore Oil Well Leaked for Months, Public Kept in Dark for a Year
Oil spill stock photo. Flickr

Australia's oil regulator is refusing to disclose the location and the company behind a 10,500 liter leak of petroleum into the ocean last year.

An Australian offshore oil and gas well leaked continuously into surrounding waters for two months in 2016 but information about the discharge was only released this week in the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority's (NOPSEMA) annual offshore performance report.


According to The Guardian, the report provided scant details about the spill, which was only found after a routine inspection. After the publication asked about the spill, NOPSEMA divulged that the leak went on for two months at a rate of about 175 liters a day.

A NOPSEMA spokesman explained that the leak was caused by seal degradation but refused to reveal the exact location of the spill, just that it happened in the North West Shelf—an extensive oil and gas region off the coast of Western Australia.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific criticized the agency for keeping the public in the dark and noted that no fines or other form of punishment were given to whoever the operator might be.

"Australians, and especially those who rely on the ocean for their livelihood, should be deeply concerned by reports that the national oil regulator has withheld information from the public about a 10,500 liter oil leak for over twelve months," senior Greenpeace campaigner Nathaniel Pelle said.

"There's absolutely no justification for continuing to keep the company involved or the location of the oil spill a secret. NOPSEMA must immediately make the identity of the company involved and the location of the spill available to the public," Pelle stressed.

Last week, an "improvement" notice issued by NOPSEMA showed it failed to take action against ExxonMobil for its Feb. 1 oil spill in the Bass Strait, Pelle noted.

"When you combine this with their failure to punish ExxonMobil for a recent spill the lack of any meaningful enforcement action is staggering and incomparable to most extractive industries," he said.

Pelle pointed out that NOPSEMA's report also showed that hydrocarbon leaks increased by 28 percent and inspections by the regulator went down 27 percent.

"NOPSEMA's performance report should be a wake-up call to the government and to anyone who has the bad luck of sharing the marine environment with the oil industry," he said.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' "Doomsday Clock" — an estimate of how close humanity is to the apocalypse — remains at 100 seconds to zero for 2021. Eva Hambach / AFP / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

One hundred seconds to midnight. That's how close humanity is to the apocalypse, and it's as close as the world has ever been, according to Wednesday's annual announcement from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a group that has been running its "Doomsday Clock" since the early years of the nuclear age in 1947.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The 13th North Atlantic right whale calf with their mother off Wassaw Island, Georgia on Jan. 19, 2010. @GeorgiaWild, under NOAA permit #20556

North Atlantic right whales are in serious trouble, but there is hope. A total of 14 new calves of the extremely endangered species have been spotted this winter between Florida and North Carolina.

Read More Show Less

Trending

There are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients. Marko Geber / Getty Images

By Yoram Vodovotz and Michael Parkinson

The majority of Americans are stressed, sleep-deprived and overweight and suffer from largely preventable lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Being overweight or obese contributes to the 50% of adults who suffer high blood pressure, 10% with diabetes and additional 35% with pre-diabetes. And the costs are unaffordable and growing. About 90% of the nearly $4 trillion Americans spend annually for health care in the U.S. is for chronic diseases and mental health conditions. But there are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients.

Read More Show Less
Candles spell out, "Fight for 1 point 5" in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany on Dec. 11, 2020, in reference to 1.5°C of Earth's warming. The event was organized by the Fridays for Future climate movement. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Taking an unconventional approach to conduct the largest-ever poll on climate change, the United Nations' Development Program and the University of Oxford surveyed 1.2 million people across 50 countries from October to December of 2020 through ads distributed in mobile gaming apps.

Read More Show Less
A monarch butterfly is perched next to an adult caterpillar on a milkweed plant, the only plant the monarch will lay eggs on and the caterpillar will eat. Cathy Keifer / Getty Images

By Tara Lohan

Fall used to be the time when millions of monarch butterflies in North America would journey upwards of 2,000 miles to warmer winter habitat.

Read More Show Less