PEP11 in Limbo as Plans to Drill Continue
The Perth-headquartered company are planning to drill at their Baleen-1 prospect, 30km south of Newcastle, and last week announced to the market they have appointed the Xodus Group to prepare an environmental plan for the well.
Advent states: “Xodus Group are a leading global energy environmental consultancy with a strong track record in the Australian offshore sector, where they are subject matter experts in environmental impact assessment and regulatory approvals.”
Once prepared, the environmental plan would be submitted to the national offshore energy regulator NOPSEMA for consideration. This environment plan would also be open to public comment, as was the case when Equinor’s plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight drew over 30,000 public submissions against it.
However, before an environment plan can be submitted, there are still two pending approvals on the proposed well that need to be signed off on. The company is still waiting for approval from NOPTA – the offshore titles administrator – to switch their permit conditions to allow them to drill. Then there is the not unsubstantial matter that the Petroleum Exploration Permit 11 (PEP11) itself actually lapsed back in February, and has not been renewed by Federal Resources Minister, Keith Pitt.
In the meantime, huge community and political opposition to PEP11 has broken out. More than 70,000 people have signed Save Our Coast’s petition opposing it. Surfrider Australia has led a rolling series of paddle-out protests along the coast between Sydney and Newcastle, while community groups including Surfrider, Surfers For Climate and Save Our Coast travelled to Canberra with Patagonia Global Surf Activist Belinda Baggs to meet with federal politicians. The PEP11 proposal has done the impossible and united both major political parties in opposition to an issue of energy policy, with even Prime Minister Scott Morrison stating his opposition to PEP11.
And yet still Advent Energy marches on with plans to drill.
Banner image – A paddle-out at Nobby's Beach, Newcastle on May 1. Photo: Nick Klynsmith, courtesy of Surfrider Foundation Australia.