Media Releases - 02 May 2022

Fossil fuel gas drilling off King Island announced—no mention of public consultation or Community Rights

  • 3D Oil appears to confirm drilling will proceed next year and that it is partnering with ConocoPhillips

  • King Island residents denied a say over drilling for fossil fuel gas exploration—having been already denied a say over seismic blasting in their waters

  • No mention of public consultation, environmental impact assessment or community rights by 3D Oil

    The King Island community held a rally to oppose the exploration of oil and gas in their waters. Image: Tom Allen.

In an apparent investor briefing, 3D Oil has appeared to confirm that exploration drilling for fossil fuel gas will take place off King Island next year.

This follows the largest seismic blasting survey the area has ever seen, which was imposed on the island community last year. It was conducted continuously for about 80 days off King Island at the end of 2021 by US oil and gas major ConocoPhillips despite strong opposition from King Islanders.

In a presentation to ShareCafe on 25 March 2022, the Managing Director of 3D Oil, Noel Newell, referred to the T49/P acreage off King Island and said: “We added value by shooting seismic… we’re looking for gas down there and we’re looking for large gas. The plan is to drill an exploration well next year.”

Tom Allen, Tasmanian Campaigns Manager for the Wilderness Society said: “When the United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres clarified that the dangerous radicals we need to worry about aren’t climate activists but those people who are “increasing the production of fossil fuels”, it was companies like 3D Oil, ConocoPhillips and governments like the Morrison Government, which is enabling them, to which Mr Guterres was referring.

“The King Island and wider Tasmanian community was kept in the dark about seismic blasting and now they’re in the dark too about drilling. These corporations are being allowed and encouraged to steamroll communities in their way, such as the King Island community; it's as if community rights and climate change don’t exist,” said Mr Allen.

“The next Australian government must end the handing over of more and more public seabed to fossil fuel companies for unnecessary and dangerous fossil fuel exploration, as well as rule out public funds for fossil fuel extraction on-shore. This unfolding disaster off King Island is being replicated around the country, and communities opposing more new fossil fuels are still being ignored by governments and fossil fuel companies. They must start to listen and urgently decarbonise their business models.”

Ally King, for Surfrider Australia said: “No Gas Across the Bass and Surfrider Australia recently held five community meetings across the north of Tasmania, where representatives from local fishing communities voiced concerns. One local seafood provider said they have built their business up to a value of $45m and employ over 60 locals, however, they have not been consulted and are concerned about further fossil fuel exploration.

“Obviously this project will still need to go through relevant approval processes. However, I have little faith in regulator NOPSEMA’s approval process. It is designed to work for the big companies rather than safeguarding local communities and marine environments. I don't believe they have ever actually declined a project.

“Currently 70% of gas on Australia's east coast (including Tasmania) is exported overseas, while residents pay the seventh-highest prices in the world. Local communities are absolutely getting ripped off by this industry. While the Morrison Government greenwashes the public with a ‘gas-led recovery’, in reality they are trying to squeeze the last few dollars out of a dying industry for their fossil fuel mates to the detriment to the community and environment.

“The 3D Oil presentation raises many questions, including the lack of community consultation, the lack of an environmental impact assessment and who is responsible for damage to the marine environment when something goes wrong?” asked Ms King.

The International Energy Agency has said that all new fossil fuel reserves should stay in the ground and its Roadmap to Net Zero by 2050 sets out a pathway using renewables and no new fossil fuels. The exploration of new fossil fuel reserves is harmful, immoral and unnecessary.

On 5 May in Launceston, there is a public forum about the need for Community Rights to combat fossil fuel expansion:

Where are our rights? The mindless expansion of Australia's fossil fuel industry

Hear from members of the Tasmanian community taking a stand and working together to fix Australia’s broken Community Rights system and end the mindless expansion of the fossil fuel industry.

For more information please contact

Tom Allen, the Wilderness Society, 0434 614 323

Ally King, Surfrider Tasmania, 0488 400 791