April 18 - 24, 2021: Issue 490


stop PEP-11 Paddle-Out at Mona Vale shares community's vision for end of this licence

Over two months have elapsed since the expiry of the PEP-11 exploration Permit (February 12th, 2021) with the proponents free to pursue further development until a decision is made by Federal Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, the Hon Keith Pitt MP. 

Mr. Pitt is maintaining a deafening silence on the subject after stating on February 5th, 2021, ‘’I am waiting on Mr Barilaro's advice as the other joint decision maker. And once again, we will work our way through this systematically and methodically and make decisions based on facts. Minister Barilaro is the joint decision making authority. He will put forward New South Wales view. Based on that advice, plus my own, and of course the world class regulator in NOPSEMA, we'll make a decision.’’

NSW Minister Barilaro stated on February 17th, 2021 he had written to Mr. Pitt stating his position was not to renew the licence. However, Mr. Barilaro did close his statement passing the buck back to the federal minister, reminding all that the licence had first been issued by the federal level and the final decision rests with them, not him, so no fire may fall on the state government’s head when the federal government does as it has indicated it will. 

Given Mr. Pitt was asked on that same date, February 4th, how drilling for gas fits in with net-zero emissions, and started deflecting with refrains about the also less popular by the day Angus Taylor and how ‘gas will be an important part of our recovery’ it’s fairly obvious by now there is absolutely no intention of doing anything other than 'business as usual'.

Lack of willpower, lack of representation of those who voted them in, lack of integrity and lack of intelligence to this degree would be a comedy if it wasn’t already a tragedy unfolding and manifesting all around us, through everything, right here and now. 

The ABC 4 Corners program of this past week ‘Fired Up’ shines an indelible light on the federal government’s ‘gas fired recovery’ spiels and who was appointed to finesse this agenda for themselves. Visions of pigs lined up at a trough abound, except that would be discourteous to the real species this has been derived from – they are much cleaner, much purer of heart.

Unfortunately it’s one load of balderdash too much for residents and as the proponents keep making announcements of advancing their plans for drilling and installing a well – the latest released this week, the deafening silence begins to take on another inferred tone.

The Australian public has grown weary of the millions being ignored to further the greed of a handful and are meeting the slyness deduced in the months long silence and it’s morally illegal licence to complicity keep advancing such schemes, along with Mr. Pitt’s invisibleness, with being quite visible, completely apparent and nosily upfront.

On Saturday April 17th, while the Narrabeen Classic was being surfed in pristine waves two beaches south, locals gathered at the Mona Vale Basin to reiterate their opposition to any renewal for the PEP-11 license.

This was a #stopPEP11 paddle-out, one of three that are being rolled out in coming weeks, and saw a healthy turn out (at relatively short notice), including Surfing Australia Chair Layne Beachley AO, Tom Carroll, Oli and Louis Leimbach from Lime Cordiale, MP for Pittwater, the Hon. Rob Stokes, Pru Wawn and Jack McCoy along with local surfers and grommets, all there to show their opposition to mining for gas off our Sydney beaches.

Terrigal will host a paddle-out on March 24th and Newcastle takes its turn on May 1st. 

The paddle-out is, traditionally, an ocean-based ceremony consisting of a mix of spiritual, metaphysical, and ritual actions that acknowledge, remember, and celebrate a fallen peer. It's a symbolic rite of passage that showcases traces of connection and separation, departure, and continuity.

It's a ceremony of mourning - a final farewell, a funeral.

At the Mona Vale Stop PEP-11 paddle-out Layne Beachley said, ‘’It’s just an absurd decision to consider drilling for oil and gas off one of the most populated pristine coastlines in the world.’’

‘’It beggars belief that there is even a consideration of renewing this (licence) when we know this form of mining is now archaic. We need to start heading towards renewable energy, and, in the event that something goes wrong, it will be catastrophic. 

Let’s get rid of this and embrace renewable energies so we can transform the world we live in.’’

Brendan Donohoe, President of Surfrider Foundation Northern Beaches and Layne Beachley AO at Mona Vale Basin on Saturday

Oli Leimbach  said ‘’We grew up on these beautiful pristine beaches and you don’t realise how beautiful these waters are until you’ve travelled the world and then come home.

We go to California quite a lot and when we went down to the beach there we were surprised as although you have this vision of the Californian beaches being beautiful, which they are, you can see oil rigs out on the horizon. It’s a massive eyesore.

Earlier Layne Beachley was talking about walking along Huntington beach and finding oil on her feet.’’

PEP 11 refers to Petroleum Exploration Permit 11, which is the 4576 square kilometre offshore oil and gas lease between Newcastle and Manly. The area is also often referred to as the Sydney Basin.

ADVENT Energy* the fossil fuel prospecting company, has lodged an application with NOPTA (National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator) to drill for gas in the PEP11 Baleen Prospect Zone which is 30km SE Newcastle. They have also asked for a two year extension of their lease which was due to expire on the 12th of February, 2021.

The Surfrider Foundation local chapters stated ''The communities who live, work and visit this iconic stretch of coastline will never accept a gas field off Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, the Central Coast and the Northern Beaches. Gas drilling poses an unacceptable risk to our ocean habitat, marine wildlife including migrating whales, tourism, fishing grounds and our local recreational amenity.

''Since 2019 Surfrider Foundation Australia, Save Our Coast and Living Ocean have been staging activations to create awareness about this obscene, crazy mining project. Movie nights, local meetings and paddle outs were gaining momentum until COVID19 came along. We switched tactics and rolled out a successful #stoppep11 social media campaign that coincided with massive petitions both on line and hand written, as well as emails to and meetings with local MPs. The intense lobbying culminated in a trip to Canberra, a press conference, and as a result all the local coastal councils, the NSW Government, the Federal Labor Party and all coastal Independent MP’s have opposed the PEP11 project. The high risk environmental impacts, the negative economic impacts on recreational and commercial fishing, as well as the detrimental effects on local tourism industries deem the project unacceptable.

However, the decision to approve PEP 11 rests with the Federal Resources minister Keith Pitt. He has refused to meet with us directly and continues to publicly spruik the governments “gas led COVID recovery” and the need for new east coast gas projects. So we will keep protesting until this offshore gas/oil mine in our back yard is off the table for good.

Surfrider Foundation Australia is opposed to offshore gas and oil drilling in the Sydney Basin. Our local oceans, waves and beaches are vital recreational, economic and ecological treasures that will be polluted and harmed as a result of this proposed industrialisation of our coastline.''

The Foundation lists the following facts and community objections to PEP-11:


  • There are numerous hazards involved in drilling through the offshore porous sandstone shelf, including chemical sludge and water pollution, possible oil spills and methane gas escaping. Despite safeguards, accidents happen. (Montaro, NW Australia 2009)
  • Oil spills can be deadly.
  • Should an incident occur and oil was to spread in NSW coastal waters, it is currently unlikely that the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, The Newcastle Port Authority and the Sydney Ports Corporation would be able to respond in an effective manner.
  • Drilling disrupts marine life.
  • Rigs, pipes, lights, and increased noise disrupt marine habitats, migrations and fishing.


  • Oil spills and water pollution are costly. Billions of dollars would be lost in tourism and fishing, not to mention diminishing the overall worth of our local coastal environment. The coastline between Newcastle and Sydney is Australia’s most valuable. (Deloitte Access Economics)
  • Oil and gas developments ruin seascapes and diminish tourism.
  • Air and water pollution hurt local communities.
  • PEP11 is potentially a costly stranded asset. Drilling for offshore gas in the current economic climate is high risk with low reward. (Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis)


  • Gas is a fossil fuel and not a renewable resource. Fugitive emissions (methane) from gas wells and pipelines, including whilst drilling, contribute to greenhouse gas pollution. Offshore gas mining is inconsistent with lowering Australian greenhouse gas emissions.

The organisers of the Stop PEP-11 paddle out were Surfrider Foundation Northern Beaches, Surfrider Foundation Australia, Surfrider Foundation Manly, Save Our Coast / Stop Seismic Testing and Living Ocean

Save Our Coast has been opposing PEP11 for over three years. The organisation has collected over 78,000 signatures on petitions calling for its cancellation.

Founder, Dr Natasha Deen, said the group hoped the Prime Minister would ensure Pitt “heeds the clear wishes of the community” and denies extension of the licence.

Rowan Hanley, volunteer member of Surfrider Foundation Northern Beaches and MP for Pittwater Rob Stokes at the Stop PEP-11 paddle-out


Images and vision: Tim Seaton, Kyle Jenkinson, Jeremy Richardson, Sally Higson

Edit of facts and community concerns: Surfrider Foundation Northern Beaches, Surfrider Foundation Australia, Surfrider Foundation Manly, Save Our Coast / Stop Seismic Testing and Living Ocean

Report: A J Guesdon

*ADVENT Energy is an unlisted oil and gas prospecting company based in Perth. Its parent company is MEC Resources. The exploration company is a subsidiary called ASSET PTY LTD (ASSET). ASSET owns 85% of the licence and Bounty Oil and Gas (BPH) own 15%.

BPH Energy Limited (BPH.AX) PEP11 Update

Perth, Australia, April 16, 2021 - (ABN Newswire) - BPH Energy Limited's (ASX:BPH) wishes to advise it has now received the Environmental Review Report for the Baleen gas exploration well in offshore license PEP11. Advent Energy Ltd (Advent) is the operator of the permit through its wholly owned subsidiary, Asset Energy Pty Ltd, in Joint Venture (85%) with Bounty Oil & Gas NL (15%) (ASX:BUY)

On 26th February 2021 BPH advised that its investee Advent Energy had confirmed the engagement with Add Energy for the Xodus Group to undertake a preliminary environmental screening assessment of the proposed Baleen well in preparation for drilling of the Baleen well in offshore licence PEP11.

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.

The report was facilitated by the pre-existing environmental information from the prior technical work in the licence including the Environmental Plan which was accepted by the authorities for a 2D Seismic survey which was commissioned by Advent and carried out in 2018.

The report has confirmed the program required to undertake an environmental impact assessment to support the required approvals for the Baleen well.

The aims of the preliminary environmental impact assessment were to:

1. Produce a detailed summary of required technical inputs.

2. Produce a detailed summary of required environmental inputs.

3. Outline a proposed approach for stakeholder consultation; and

4. Identify key controls potentially required to manage the activity

The report addresses the drill target on the Baleen prospect initially announced with total depth of 2150 metres on seismic data line B4-18.

As advised Advent now intends, subject to approvals and funding, to undertake deeper drilling to also undertake evaluation of the Offshore Sydney Basin for carbon sequestration (carbon capture and storage).

This has resulted in a revised specification of a well to target early Permian sandstones for both hydrocarbon and carbon sequestration potential with a revised total depth being set at 3150 m.

The Environmental Review Design report is now being assessed and further announcements will follow.

About Xodus Group

Xodus are a leading global energy consultancy and provide a range of services including dataenabled engineering and environmental services across:

- Performance monitoring and improvement

- Integrity monitoring

- Fitness for service and life extension

- Asset integrity management

- Safety, Environment & Risk management

- Regulatory compliance

Xodus Group also have expertise in landmark Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) and have recently advised the Dutch government on a CCUS project and delivered a review into tariffs for a (CCUS) project in the Netherlands.

The review for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy analysed proposed fees for the transport and storage requirements of the Porthos project, a joint venture between the Port of Rotterdam Authority, Gasunie and EBN, which seeks to transport CO2 from industry in the Port of Rotterdam to empty gas fields beneath the North Sea.

To view tables and figures, please visit: https://abnnewswire.net/lnk/1Y7O15W3

[Location of PEP 11 offshore Australia (above) and location of Baleen well site approximately 24 km offshore and approximately 30 km SSW of the city of Newcastle.]


Consultation on the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Titles Administration and Other Measures) Bill 2021

Opened April 8 2021
Closes April 23, 2021

At: https://consult.industry.gov.au/offshore-resources-branch/opggs-amendment/


We are seeking stakeholder feedback and submissions on proposed amendments to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGS Act).

The Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Titles Administration and Other Measures) Bill 2021 (the Bill), aims to strengthen and clarify Australia’s offshore oil and gas regulatory framework.

It makes the legislative changes necessary to give effect to the enhanced framework. The Bill also gives effect to the relevant recommendations from the independent review into the circumstances leading to the administration and liquidation of Northern Oil and Gas Australia (the Walker Review).

The Bill has been developed after substantial consultation with industry, regulators and the public.

The proposed measures include :

  • oversight of changes in company control (such as through a corporate merger or acquisition)
  • an expansion of existing powers to ‘call back’ previous titleholders to decommission and remediate the environment (also known as trailing liability)
  • the inclusion of decision making criteria and expanded information gathering powers to assess suitability of companies operating in the offshore oil and gas regime
  • minor and technical amendments to improve the operation of the OPGGS Act, including enabling for electronic lodgement of applications

The consultation invites stakeholder views on the proposed amendments. We are specifically interested in how it may impact those operating in Australia’s offshore oil and gas industry.

View the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Titles Administration and Other Measures) Bill 2021 [PDF 741KB] [DOCX 152KB]

View the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies) Amendment Bill 2021 [PDF 224KB] [DOCX 112KB]

Read an overview of the proposed measures [PDF 325KB] [DOCX 84KB]

Read the Regulatory Impact Statement [PDF 439KB] [DOCX 124KB]

Submit your feedback - Upload Submission

Offshore Petroleum And Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment Bill: Have Your Say

April 8, 2021: The Australian Government
The Australian Government has considered and endorsed an enhanced framework for decommissioning offshore oil and gas infrastructure.   

We are now preparing to implement the framework through legislative and policy changes. An implementation plan is expected to be released soon.

As part of the implementation, the government is seeking feedback on the draft Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Titles Administration and Other Measures) Bill 2021.

The Bill aims to strengthen and clarify Australia’s offshore oil and gas regulatory framework.  

The proposed Bill will:
  • expand existing trailing liability provisions
  • increase oversight of changes in titleholder ownership and control
  • increase regulatory scrutiny of the suitability of companies operating, or looking to operate, within Australia’s offshore petroleum regulatory regime
  • expand information gathering powers to enable scrutiny
The Bill makes the legislative changes necessary to give effect to the enhanced framework. The Bill also gives effect to the relevant recommendations of the independent review into the circumstances leading to the administration and liquidation of Northern Oil and Gas Australia (the Walker Review).

Consultation closes on Friday 23 April 2021. 

Minister Barilaro's statement:

''Statement by the Deputy Premier, John Barilaro.

17 February 2021

I have written to my federal counterpart, Keith Pitt, in my role as a member of the Commonwealth-New South Wales Offshore Petroleum Joint Authority, recommending that PEP-11 is not renewed.

Mr Pitt formally wrote to me last week seeking my recommendation, and I want to acknowledge the representations made to me by my parliamentary colleagues, including the Members for Pittwater, Terrigal and Manly.

I have listened to their views, and those of the people they represent – it confirms my own position to recommend that PEP-11 is not renewed.

The Permit was issued under Commonwealth legislation, it covers Commonwealth waters, and the final decision will be a matter for the Commonwealth government.''