Offshore gas and oil exploration projects could soon be happening just five kilometres from the 12 Apostles and Great Ocean Road. 


This week the Australian Government announced 80,000 square km of Australian coastline open to bidding for offshore gas and oil projects. 

Two of these areas fall within Victoria’s Otway Basin and a mere five kilometres from one of the country’s most iconic landmarks, the 12 Apostles, the towering limestone stacks along the Great Ocean Road.

Fair to say, people aren’t that stoked about it. 

‘The carving up of the oceans to hand them to the fossil fuel companies happens without any environmental consideration and without any meaningful space for the community to have their say,’ said National campaigner for the Wilderness Society, Jess Lerch

But of course, it’s all a part of the government’s ‘gas-fired recovery plan’. 

Every year, the government opens up new off-shore areas for potential oil and gas exploration, and this year, 21 areas were announced across six basins in Victoria and WA. 


Potential offshore exploration areas | Photo from Department of Industry


It’s not the first time the Federal Government has opened up our iconic coastline to potential offshore exploration. 

The PEP-11 project, which would see drilling off the Sydney coastline, as far north as Newcastle, is still up in the air, and the coastline off the Ningaloo Reef was one of the areas open for offshore drilling bids in 2020. 

In fact, on Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association’s conference that ‘The oil and gas sector is a major contributor to Australia’s prosperity – always has, will always be’.

All of this despite just last month, the International Energy Agency releasing a report finding that across the entire globe, no more oil or gas fields could be tapped into if the Paris Agreement goal to limit global warming to just 1.5 degrees is going to have any chance of being met. 

Bidding for potential projects in these areas is open until 3rd March 2022. We’ll certainly be keeping our eye on this one. 


Feature photo by Keiran Stone