Stopping seismic testing

Save Our Coast campaigned strongly for two years from February 2018 against plans to conduct seismic testing as part of the gas exploration process off our coast in a zone called PEP11 (see below).

During the campaign, Save Our Coast held information sessions, film screenings, market stalls and other events. We collected more than 77,000 signatories against seismic testing and gas drilling – a powerful sign of community opposition.

Asset Energy announced in early 2020 it had cancelled seismic testing – a huge win for our campaign!

However, it could still reverse that decision. And we want to see harmful seismic testing banned throughout Australia.

What is seismic testing?

Seismic testing consists of intense and explosive underwater airgun blasts between 200-256 decibels, firing every 3-10 seconds for 24 hours continuously for days, weeks or months on end to find the best drilling targets for oil or gas, using echo location to detect hollows in the ocean bed that may contain natural gas. 

Seismic blasts has been shown to have a devastating effect on marine life. It kills plankton over 1km away, has been shown to stress, deafens and harms fish, oysters, lobsters, squid, penguins, dolphins and whales, and is linked to mass stranding of turtles, dolphins and whales.


The PEP11 licence was granted by the Commonwealth government to a gas exploration joint-venture comprising majority partner Asset Energy plus Bounty Energy and RL Energy.

PEP11 covers 4500sq/km of ocean, in places just 5.5km from the shore, from Manly through the Central Coast to Newcastle. It is believed to contain significant natural gas reserves under the ocean bed. PEP11 is entirely in Commonwealth waters, which begin 5.5km offshore.

Asset Energy is a subsidary of Perth-based Advent Energy, whose shareholders include BPH Energy and listed Pooled Development Fund, MEC Resources. RL Energy have now withdrawn.

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