Australian Marine Parks

Chapter 4: Impacts of petroleum South-east Regional Marine Plan: National Oceans Office, 2001.


About the publication

This chapter outlines the potential environmental impacts associated with offshore petroleum activities and operations. Phases of petroleum activities addressed in this chapter include:

  • seismic surveys
  • exploration drilling
  • field development
  • production operations
  • decommissioning

The level of impact from petroleum operations is highly dependent on timing, particularly with respect to the critical life cycle periods of marine species.

As a general industry rule, development programs are coordinated to avoid highly sensitive periods (ie migration, calving and feeding). Potential consequences must be examined with reference to program timing and location.

Potential impacts vary greatly for each phase of the industry, but broadly include:

  • changes in behavioural ecology (ie feeding, breeding and migratory regimes)
  • disturbances from noise related activities
  • direct impacts from hydrocarbon spills
  • direct impacts from seabed works and disposal of waste discharges

A summary of impacts is provided in Table 3. A list of South East regional species and communities likely to be impacted is provided in Appendix 1.