Woodside Set to Begin Seismic Survey in Otway Basin

Woodside has been given final approval by the Victorian Government to begin conducting seismic surveys in the Otway Basin near Port Campbell offshore Australia. Work is expected to begin by the end of this week.

The Victorian Government recently rejected a similar proposal for seismic testing in the nearby Twelve Apostles Marine National Park. Local fishermen and environmentalists have opposed the surveying for gas because they believe it could harm marine life.

Woodside senior geophysicist Mark Taylor says it could take up to four weeks to do the work. "We've agreed to meet with fishermen towards the start of the rock lobster season if it looks as though our survey will continue into the rock lobster season," he said.

"We have plans to meet with fishermen's associations both in Port Campbell and in Warrnambool, both of whom might be affected by our operations."

The State Government has defended its decision to allow the testing.

Greens' Senator Bob Brown has says he will try to have the Senate overrule the Government's decision.

Energy Minister Theo Theophanous says the Government has taken a balanced approach. "Seismic testing is safe, in the case of the decision however, with respect to the Twelve Apostles, well in that case a higher environmental test applies to national parks and marine parks, and we have in that instance adopted a precautionary approach," he said.