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.

Radiation-contaminated water tanks and damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Feb. 25, 2016 in Okuma, Japan. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Japan will release radioactive wastewater from the failed Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, the government announced on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier, aka the doomsday glacier, is seen here in 2014. NASA / Wikimedia Commons / CC0

Scientists have maneuvered an underwater robot beneath Antarctica's "doomsday glacier" for the first time, and the resulting data is not reassuring.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Journalists film a protest by the environmental organization BUND at the Datteln coal-fired power plant in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany on April 23, 2020. Bernd Thissen / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Lead partners of a global consortium of news outlets that aims to improve reporting on the climate emergency released a statement on Monday urging journalists everywhere to treat their coverage of the rapidly heating planet with the same same level of urgency and intensity as they have the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Airborne microplastics are turning up in remote regions of the world, including the remote Altai mountains in Siberia. Kirill Kukhmar / TASS / Getty Images

Scientists consider plastic pollution one of the "most pressing environmental and social issues of the 21st century," but so far, microplastic research has mostly focused on the impact on rivers and oceans.

Read More Show Less
A laborer works at the site of a rare earth metals mine at Nancheng county, Jiangxi province, China on Oct. 7, 2010. Jie Zhao / Corbis via Getty Images

By Michel Penke

More than every second person in the world now has a cellphone, and manufacturers are rolling out bigger, better, slicker models all the time. Many, however, have a bloody history.

Read More Show Less