Deep water drilling six hundred clicks closer to Bells than failed Equinor proposal…
Remember the mass protests by surfers over a proposal by Norwegian energy company Equinor to bite into the Great Australian Bight in the hunt for black gold?
Longtom wrote poetically of the Byron paddle-out,
Representatives of every little sub-tribe out in the hot sunshine and howling onshore wind. Gurfers, murfers with their stock-broker and hedge fund husbands, rockstars, movie stars, slightly anorexic goddesses with logs, hipsters with finless foamies, sinewy old sea dogs, spanish-speaking Euro babes, sultry tattooed Peruvian, Argentinian and Brazilian studs, ageing local shredders on nineties thrusters and their progeny, kiddies, cops, magistrates, bankers, dentists, doctors, ex-pros, “soul” pros, scumbags and every other flavour of surfer. Surf witches were there, no doubt, but likely the blue bands were left behind.
You know how it played out.
If Australians weren’t going to be nice, Equinor was out. No social license to drill etc.
But while that was going down, Texas-based ExxonMobil, was given approval to drill to a depth of 2300 metres (2500 yards) in Bass Straight, deeper even than the proposed Equinor Stromlo-1 well.
ExxonMobil is a name familiar to those who were around in 1989 when its tanker the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in Alaska and bled 37,000 metric tonnes of crude. Worst oil spill in history. Otters, the cutest animal in any ecosystem, very badly hit. Poor optics although no social media back then meant many opportunities lost.
In a piece published today in Spectator Australia, Fred Pawle writes,
The protesters’ victory is small beer in the grander scheme of things in Australia. While the protesters were preoccupied with Equinor throughout last year, ExxonMobil managed to submit an application for an even deeper offshore well, have it approved and has already started drilling. That well is about 600km closer than Equinor’s proposed well would have been to Damien Cole’s home surf break at Bells.
Smart surfers will be secretly relieved that ExxonMobil dodged the protest gauntlet and has quietly got to work. It means surfboard makers will still have the raw materials for surfboards and airlines will still be able to fly keen surfers for their annual trip to Indonesia, where the waves are even better than at Bells.
Fred also rips into the frankly infallible Nick Carroll who, he says, “falsely claimed that ‘a worst-case spill would put oil on every surfable coast of Australia south of 30 degrees S.’ ”