PEP OFF: Email your MP to stop PEP 11

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

An urgent message from Sean Doherty, chair of Surfrider Fondation Australia:

"On Monday, the PEP11 petroleum permit is up for debate in Federal parliament. There’s a real chance we can get it shut down for good and stop the horizon between Sydney and Newcastle lined with gas rigs. Commonsense elements within both the Liberal and Labor parties also want PEP11 scrapped, but they’re up against a conga line of colleagues brainwashed and on the payroll of the fossil fuel lobby. We need to speak to all of them before Monday and let them know how we feel."

Concerned surfers living between Sydney and Newcastle can follow this link to send a letter to your local MP. It's quick and easy - five minutes tops - and needs to be done ASAP.

Further information:

Petroleum Exploration Permit 11 (PEP 11) covers 4,500 square kilometres between Newcastle and Sydney and out to the continental shelf. The permit is licensed to a joint venture between Advent Energy and Bounty Oil and Gas, who have already conducted years of seismic testing and have several prospect drilling areas already identified. They are pushing ahead with plans to drill exploratory wells as early as 2021.

The PEP 11 zone is within sight of the coastline between Newcastle and Sydney. If developed, gas rigs could be seen along the horizon. PEP 11 is the only offshore oil and gas exploration permit off the NSW coast, and the fact it sits directly off Australia’s largest, most iconic city speaks to the supercharged development of gas in Australia. 

While gas companies cry about a gas shortage, the reality is that Australia is awash with natural gas. We are the largest exporter of natural gas in the world, exporting three-quarters of the gas we extract. However, in the absence of an east coast domestic gas reserve policy, the gas companies have been able to chase profits overseas at the expense of the local market. The cheap gas is exported, the expensive gas remains in Australia. Farcically, we’ve even had to import back the same gas we exported.

There is no gas shortage, just a system where the gas companies have been able to chase profits and push for gas development we don’t need. 

Comments

mpeachy's picture
mpeachy's picture
mpeachy commented Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 12:33pm

What's the problem? Just that we will be able to see gas rigs? Do they leak?

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 1:11pm

Yeah I don't see the problem either.
People rarely complain about the wars we have to get oil. Wars that destroy ancient cities and cultures. But a gas rig off the coastline is apparently a travesty.
People have got to get real when it comes 'collective karma' -stop kidding themselves about how convenient it is to have cars and roads and paint and computers and vinyl and toothbrushes and clothes and see that these resources have to come from somewhere. At least if it's in your own backyard it's clear to see when shit goes wrong!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 1:16pm

Unsightly and unecessary are the issues, specifically the latter.

JPJ's picture
JPJ's picture
JPJ commented Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 7:50pm

Of course there is also the issue that oil and gas are fossil fuels and burning them to produce energy has proven...err...problematic.

mpeachy's picture
mpeachy's picture
mpeachy commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 8:06am

This wasn't referred to in the article. Maybe assumed knowledge to some, but not everyone knows about gas like they do coal.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 1:17pm

I thought they were joking.

1173

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 3:39pm

Whats better from a local environment perspective

Getting gas from offshore wells like this or alternatives like fracking?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 3:42pm

Using our own before selling it overseas.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 6:36pm

Thats not the answer to the question i asked.

Id really like to know the answer to the original question.

If fracking on land is worse for the local environment than these offshore rigs, then opposing these rigs if successful could just shift pressure to fracking on land.

Off course people that oppose these type of things are generally pretty unrealistic and arrogant and would just say we oppose gas extraction anywhere.

Well sorry you have to be smarter than that, because if there is a demand it will be mined and sold, so you need to think about the bigger picture.

BTW. Yes ideally we would get first dibs, but that's a separate topic.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 7:41am

"Well sorry you have to be smarter than that, because if there is a demand it will be mined and sold, so you need to think about the bigger picture."

No need to apologise...or patronise...but the wisdom that says we should accept that everything that could be mined will be mined is pure and utter garbage.

We live in a nation state with a (supposed) soverereign government whose role is to regulate the resources within our borders. The problem at the moment is the LNP favours the corporate oligarchy so they can feather their own post-politics nest. 

There's no need for it.

That's the 'bigger picture'.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 8:55am

"There's no need for it."

Wrong demand ensures there is a need for it, yeah sure that might change one day, but currently there is demand, reality is people just never want these things in their backyard but like the guy said above are still happy to benefit from these types of projects.

If it was an oil rig, okay sure, but a gas rig, the affect on people is purely visual.

Thats not the bigger picture.

The bigger picture is everyone benefits from these projects.

1. With raising of millions to billions in income to the government through royalties, tax, payroll tax etc

And yes they also get tax breaks, even don't pay tax at times, but in reality they still bring in big money to the government and economy over the duration of their life.

2. Provide jobs, directly or indirectly that stimulates the economy.

3. Those who benefit from the gas, many countries are swapping to gas for economical reasons or even to reduce emissions, even Indonesia a few years back moved from kerosine to gas as most people in Indonesia especially in areas with no or poor electricity supply use gas. (not sure how they did the switch but it basically happened overnight, i think they took the subsidy away from kerosine that saw the price sky rocket)

The alternative is, well nothing no benefit to anyone, or just the benefit of people not having a a speck on the horizon or some lights in the distance at night.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 10:57am

Indo, you seem to have the blinkers on to only be advocating one quite narrow version of the bigger picture.

If there was equivalent investment in renewables there would likely be a very similar level of economic benefit, if not more, and stimulus. The renewables have an embedded emissions dimension for the time being, true, but represent a far more sustainable option for the future. There is enough gas development to supply sufficient gas to effect the oft-talked about transition to renewables now. Any further gas development is for profit and profit alone. Don't be hoodwinked by the spin doctors.

Besides, if you re-apply the environmental and social disbenefits attributable to fossil fuel use to the equation (disasters, heat stress, crop failure, forced relocation, refugees, redistribution of competition for resources etc etc) you would likely find the current benefits to be pretty well cancelled out, if not a net negative at the end of the day.

Jaspo's picture
Jaspo's picture
Jaspo commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 1:19pm

Wholeheartedly agree, Tango, though it is absolutely (without sources) a net negative if you factor environmental and social costs into the cost/benefit mix.

Indo, transition to gas does not reduce emissions - it is not a 'greener' or 'cleaner' alternative, as big oil would have you believe.

Also, fracking and offshore rigs are neither mutually exclusive, nor necessary. Even the 'petrochemicals are needed for plastic manufacturing' argument no longer holds water.

Wish I had sources, but, ya know, forums.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 5:46pm

The topic really isn't about fossil fuels versus renewables.

Gas often plays an important part in the transition to renewables as we have seen in SA and elsewhere especially in regard to gas peaking plants, not to mention gas power plants are very easily converted to hydrogen power plants.

BTW. Sorry Tango burning gas is cleaner it has about half the C02 emissions of things like Coal, the downside is the process of extraction which produces methane a gas that has an even greater green house effect. (when first released into the atmosphere)

However, C02 last in the atmosphere for hundreds to thousands of years, while methane totally breaks down within 9 to 12 years.

Anyway no one seems to be able to answer the original question.

sean-doherty's picture
sean-doherty's picture
sean-doherty commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 10:38pm

You're absolutely right... this isn't about gas versus renewables. It's about a gas cartel being protected by a free market Federal Government calibrating energy policy to give them another 20 years in business... while the energy market itself heads off 180 degrees in the other direction. With the stroke of a pen the Feds could lower gas prices by signing off on an east coast gas reserve policy, but that wouldn't sit well with their mates/overlords. The very fact that a gas company believes it can drill in sight of Australia's biggest city and get away with it tells you the line between the aforementioned gas cartel and Federal Government is very fine indeed.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 17 Oct 2020 at 8:28am

Just don't complain when more pressure is put on areas for fracking.

Personally im willing to comprise id much rather the gas be taken from where it's not going to damage the land and ground water.

Yeah sure its not my backyard, but in all honestly if it was my coast i wouldn't have an issue, oil rigs okay i get it, an oil spill is always a risk.

jacksprat's picture
jacksprat's picture
jacksprat commented Monday, 19 Oct 2020 at 10:32am

What sort of car do you drive? Are you totally energy self sufficient? Where does your juice come from? Where do you get you clothes from? Electronic equipment? Surfboards? Wetsuits? Get the picture here? No point complaining, the time for debate is long past. Each individual needs to put their money where their mouth is, or just shut put and wait for the inevitable results.

onetimeonly

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Monday, 19 Oct 2020 at 11:31am

Guilty as charged on all counts, jacksprat. However, your argument suggests we should all support the continuation of the status quo just because we do it now. That attitude would have kept us polishing saddles to get to town.

Just because the vast majority of affordable choices are detrimental doesn't mean we shouldn't focus effort on replacing them with better products and bring prices down so that the uptake kicks in properly. Of course we want all the mod cons and standard of living to be maintained. That's the main tension in the debate.

But your logic means that unless someone is a bastion of sustainability we should lock ourselves away, do nothing and buy nothing rather than transition to better options.

EasyRider's picture
EasyRider's picture
EasyRider commented Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 5:11pm

1.Before privatisation Victoria had access to cheap gas which was considered a waste product from Bass Strait oil wells. It was provided to Victorians as a cheap and affordable energy source to the benefit of manufacturing and domestic use. With privatisation we are now paying some of the highest prices in the world. Many of the International Gas exporters operating in northern Australia pay F..all company Tax which clearly begs the question, why bother? https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-01/tax-credits-for-oil-and-gas-giant...

NDC's picture
NDC's picture
NDC commented Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 10:01pm

I dunno the answer but good to see views and questions from either side and not just a polarised and uninformed pile on

morg's picture
morg's picture
morg commented Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 10:05pm

Many will probably laugh about being able to see gas rigs until it happens. A few years ago it was common for that many ships to be anchored off the coastline between Newcastle and upper Central Coast that you couldn’t see horizon. When looking to the horizon all you would see was an endless line of ships and you don’t realise it matters until you can’t do it. Fortunately the number of anchored (visible) ships is now limited until the Port Authority. At least ships can sail away, oil rigs are a lot more permanent.

jacksprat's picture
jacksprat's picture
jacksprat commented Monday, 19 Oct 2020 at 10:34am

The ships off Newcastle, pre Pasha Bulka were paid to park off Newcastle.

onetimeonly

groovie's picture
groovie's picture
groovie commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 6:41am

Wake up peeps! Renewables combined with (dare I say it) nuclear is the way fwd. to reduce emissions of CO2. Watch a you tube vid. called 2040 which introduces you to our Waterworld future which is inevitable if the global community keeps fossil fuel emissions @ the current rate. , Too many people on the planet already, which is the main driver of climate change, Any population that outgrows its resources eventually goes into decline!

ryder's picture
ryder's picture
ryder commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 8:11am

...as Sean has a quick instant gas hot water shower before driving down the beach in his petrol/diesel SUV and paddles out in his neoprene wetsuit on his PU board. All washed down with a single-use coffee cup with plastic lid and all this before 9am.

Oh the irony...

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 8:15am

There’s a global glut of gas supply and no more is needed. Sean is still able to use gas - as is the rest of the world - without having to fuck up our East coast .

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 8:15am

Weak argument.

Arguably the weakest.

ryder's picture
ryder's picture
ryder commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 8:45am

It's gotta come from somewhere, just not our backyard mentality.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 8:49am

"It's gotta come from somewhere, just not our backyard mentality."

Thats it, and you cant kind of blame people either for that mentality, but it's still hypocrisy.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 9:31am

You're missing the point. It's not needed. Australia already produces enough gas.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 10:05am

And why should there not be legitimate value placed on the aesthetics of our environment ?

If the rigs look unsightly and disruptive of the last undeveloped environment we have why should we not demand that the wishes of inhabitants who suffer are prioritised over the profits of a corporation which is not even Australian ?

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 10:42am

I wonder if an angle that may be more persuasive to the pollies is the hit to land values due to the gas plant on the horizon taking away from views (not to mention if anything goes wrong...) Plenty of wealthy & influential folks with views over the ocean who'd likely be up in arms about that too.

He who hesitates is lost

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 11:08am

Yes, everyone needs some form of energy. At the moment, the bulk of electricity is supplied by old technology and old fuel sources, and the bulk of transport is provided through old technology which runs on old energy sources. Electricity from renewables and transport via electricity represent a much better alternative and are gaining pace and economies of scale kick in and prices fall. To try and suggest that because people are forced to use the available options are hypocrites is just a lazy argument. As is the argument that because we use it we should contribute to supply. But they are the arguments that the status quo energy/transport providers promote and they're delighted a lot of people are swallowing it to the point of advocating for it.

The fact is, we don't need extra gas. There's a shitload of it. If we get behind renewables we actually won't need any more gas development and won't need to deal with the climate issues it will result in.

And yes there's been a lot of work done on non-market economic value which shows people actually value landscapes/seascapes and views. Sadly, a lot of that kind of information, a lot of it monetised, is outside the comfort zone of many economists and decision makers and doesn't get integrated into decisions properly if at all. If it did, a lot of decisions would be using business cases with a lot less zeros on the end and we'd get much smarter proposals.

tidak_bagus's picture
tidak_bagus's picture
tidak_bagus commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 8:47am

The fact that there is even any conversation around whether this should be allowed to happen or not is appalling. As a country we have sat idly by for 30 years knowing that changes need to be be made on how we consume energy and what types of energy. We should have started transitioning away from this garbage decades ago. Massive non tax paying companies and their lobbyist have been in and still are in the ear of politicians from all sides resulting in negligent inaction.
This project is sheer greed and grossly unnecessary. Anyone who thinks otherwise has their head so far in the sand its not funny and most likely have a vested interest in these projects.
How much longer do we have to hear the same weak argues for these types of projects?

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 10:00am

'The cheap gas is exported, the expensive gas remains in Australia.'

I don't understand that sentence. Does that mean we sell our gas to overseas markets at a reduced rate yet the people in it's country of origin (us) pay more? Is that because the companies that extract it are foreign owned? If that's the case why can't our fucking inept government create non negotiable policy to ensure WE pay the lowest rate as a condition of them operating here?

Yeah........I know, probably too simplistic.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 10:11am

No , that’s not simplistic. Thats exact what’s occurring.

It’s called corruption.

Even worse is that the sale of our gas overseas which leads to excessive gas prices in Australia is then used as justification for fucked up proposals such as this and Narrabri.

From the excellent Macrobusiness website :

https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2020/07/how-best-to-beat-the-gas-cartel/

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 10:13am

"Is that because the companies that extract it are foreign owned?"

Bingo. And not only do foreign companies take it, they often don't even pay tax on it.

In the past decade over 150 senior politicians or bureaucrats have moved from their portfolio to a gig in the mining industry so if you're wondering why mining appears to serve foreign interests above the national interest...well, there's your reason.

And dimwits say we're not seeing the 'bigger picture' FFS. We're being royally screwed.

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 10:37am

We really do need that federal ICAC, hey.

He who hesitates is lost

Tooold2bakook's picture
Tooold2bakook's picture
Tooold2bakook commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 2:06pm

Yep. Urgently.

Tooold2bakook's picture
Tooold2bakook's picture
Tooold2bakook commented Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 2:18pm

It is completely unnecessary. The Aussie gas fiasco - exporting so much that the local market is disadvantaged - is such an embarrassment. I think heads really need to roll.

I think that the argument that if you use vinyl and oppose this then you are a hypocrite, is also weak.

For example of you oppose oil and gas on emissions basis, then plastics are not an issue because the carbon is captured in the product.

Alternatively, if your job involves using high emissions machines (e.g. trucks) you can still campaign against the use of coal. Or more broadly, you can still push for better alternatives, which one day might translate to your industry.

You wouldn't call someone a hypocrite if they don't smoke on health grounds but then eat a donut.

inzider's picture
inzider's picture
inzider commented Saturday, 17 Oct 2020 at 1:33pm

Wheres all your spent lithium going to go, how green is lithium mining? Gas is actually not that bad.
Plant more trees , stop mass scale deforestation and problem solved.
If you don't like drilling for gas dont use it. If you dont like oil dont use it.
Put up or shut up

Johno210's picture
Johno210's picture
Johno210 commented Saturday, 17 Oct 2020 at 2:04pm

Have a read of link below this happened back in the summer of 2017.
Load shedding suburbs in Adelaide because the private / foreign owner of Pelican Point Gas Fired power generator was reluctant to fire up the generator as it would reduce there profit margin, wtf.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/cold-hard-economic-reality-of-p...

T.Edds's picture
T.Edds's picture
T.Edds commented Saturday, 17 Oct 2020 at 2:42pm

The surfing world is full of self-crafted environment experts whom are incapable to balanced and meaningful discussion. I am certainly not for a 'gas led future' in Australia. However, simply standing in popular opposition to every proposal is a real knucklehead mentality.

How many people have the moral fortitude to forgo overseas surf travel in light of their environmental conscience?

Crofty2290's picture
Crofty2290's picture
Crofty2290 commented Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 10:57am

Not needed, we have the solutions being developed right here in oz now, https://1414degrees.com.au
Oh and this,
https://www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2018/CSIRO-tech-accelerates-h...
All we need now is support for this tech to get to the mass market and the old world solutions will go the way of the dodo. The only question is how long our governments will pump billions of our money in, to keep them on the life support system for longer than they otherwise would be.

funpeeler's picture
funpeeler's picture
funpeeler commented Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 12:09pm

The rigs will just be there for the drilling. Its just an 8" hole going into the rocks under the seabed for a km or so. If gas is found (unlikely because it is has a high geological risk of anything being there) a couple more wells will be drilled to see how big the accumulation is. If it is economic to develop a few more wells will be drilled and an undersea pipeline to Sydney built. No fraccing needed. A clear horizon again and cheap East Coast natural gas as a transitional energy source. There is natural gas drilling offshore in many parts of Australia and we have a perfect safety record. This is not a leadup to destroyed ecosystems and oil covered seabirds. More methane goes into the atmosphere from our dairy industry than our natural gas industry.

joesydney's picture
joesydney's picture
joesydney commented Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020 at 7:50am

Just on the issue of rigs and unsightlyness. Rigs are used for drilling and they generally are only there temporarily and if they use a drill ship it will look just like a another boat anchored offshore.
If they actually get to development stage, and that's a big if, it will likely be subsea anyway so everything will be on the sea floor and tied back to shore with subsea pipelines so you will see nothing above the waterline

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 7:59am

"In Question Time in Federal parliament yesterday, MP Zali Steggall asked the Prime Minister:
".... PEP-11... is opposed in all communities along the coast, including the Government’s own Member for Mackellar’s electorate, will you rule out gas exploration and gas rigs being approved by your Government off our coast?" (- Zali Steggal)

But the response was made by the Energy Minister Angus Taylor, and not the Prime Minister, and completely failed to answer the question, ignoring PEP 11 and referring instead to the so called gas-led recovery.

It was an insult to our coastal communities that Minister Taylor did not even mention PEP11 in his answer to the question about PEP11..
And so disappointing that the prime minister did not answer such an important and honest question, about the future of one of our greatest assets, our coastline.

2/3 of our gas is exported and Australia already is the largest exporter of liquid natural gas in the world. We don't need to drill for gas Opening up the iconic coastline from Sydney to Newcastle - the most populated stretch of coast in Australia - to gas drilling, with potentially catastrophic risks, would be taking the government's obsession with gas to the point of insanity."