Gas Given Green Light on Great Ocean Road
Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio has given formal approval for a test well drilled by Australian company Beach Energy last year to go into production.
As first reported in the Roaring Journals earlier this year, Australian company Beach Energy drilled an exploratory gas well that ran underneath Port Campbell National Park, underneath the Great Ocean Road and underneath the surf break at Two Mile Bay.
Using a technique called “directional drilling” the Enterprise 1 well was drilled from nearby farmland, underneath the national park and eventually out 2052-metres under the sea floor. The drilling hit gas. “To have our first exploration well in the Victorian Otway program deliver a successful result is an excellent outcome for the business,” said Beach’s Chief Executive Matt Kay at the time.
The production well still requires a final approval from Victoria’s resources regulator, Earth Resources Regulation. If approved, the gas will be pumped back onshore, 450-metres outside of the national park. From there a pipeline will be built to pump the gas to the existing Otway gas plant.
According to Beach Energy production could begin in early 2023, and “a further two wells may be drilled at the same site over the following years should the first exploration well be commercially successful.”
The news of the state government’s approval of a production well at Port Campbell follows the federal government’s 2021 oil and gas acreage release, which included an area nearby, just 5 kilometres from the world-renowned Twelve Apostles.
The Otway Basin has been flagged to become a major gas hub and the reaction from local coastal communities has been white hot. The campaign against the supercharging of Otway Basin gas has been led by local surfer, Patagonia Global Surf Activist, and founder of Surfers For Climate, Belinda Baggs. “Gas is a polluting fossil fuel that will further intensify climate impacts on an already fragile coastline and the community had has enough.”
How exactly does the approval of the beach Energy production well marry with the Victorian State Government’s 50 per cent emissions reduction goal by 2030? Well, nobody was willing to explain.
Banner image: Hayden O'neill.