ESSO Australia ditches ‘rigs to reef’ option

Underside view of massive oil or gas platform in the ocean (esso)
Image: Shutterstock

Environmental groups have applauded Esso Australia’s decision to remove its retired oil and gas platforms instead of leaving them in the ocean to form fishing reefs.

Esso said it will now remove the platforms—including the long steel support structures or ‘jackets’—from the ocean. Esso is planning to remove 13 retired oil and gas platforms from Bass Strait in coming years.

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Friends of the Earth Australia (FoEA) offshore fossil gas campaigner Jeff Waters said the hundreds of thousands of tonnes of steel from the jackets could now be brought ashore for recycling.

“Victoria needs steel to build wind turbines and we can use renewable electricity to recycle the steel from the platforms.

“What we need now is a world’s best practice, state of the art oil platform recycling yard, which will trap all toxins as the platforms are broken down, cleaned and recycled.”

Waters said a site in Geelong was being considered for a recycling centre, and that South Australia was also hoping to get into the act by building a heavy-lifting ship for decommissioning.

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“It’s a $60 billion national industry waiting to happen,” he said.

“The government should extend and raise the temporary oil and gas decommissioning levy to make industry pay for it.

“It’s a drop in the ocean for them.

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