All stages of the oil development cycle – exploration, development, production, abandonment – pose unavoidable risks and impacts on marine and coastal ecosystems.

Even without taking into account the risk of a catastrophic oil spill, a new deepwater drilling operation in the Great Australian Bight will put severe pressure on the marine values of the region. The most serious of these risks and impacts include noise pollution, smothering from seabed disturbance and drill cuttings disposal, chemical pollution and discharge of drilling fluids, accidental discharge and leakage of oil, and increased marine animal strikes.

The environmental impacts of oil development are cumulative and not just site specific, particularly in a pristine environment. These impacts need to be assessed at a regional level, not site by site or project by project.