CarbonNet Project, managed by the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR), funded by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments.
March 2016 – March 2018
Offshore Gippsland Basin, Victoria. A 166 km2 survey in greenhouse gas assessment permits VIC-GIP-002 and GGAP006386(V).
Key environmental and social control measures
Aventus worked closely with CarbonNet to secure environmental approvals and minimise environmental and social impacts by resolving to:
- Reduce the volume of the sound source to the smallest possible while meeting the technical objectives of the survey.
- Avoid undertaking the survey during the peak spawning season for key fish species targeted by commercial fisheries.
- Avoid undertaking the survey over the Christmas holiday period and during the Australia Day and Easter long-weekend recreational fishing competitions.
- Undertake marine habitat field assessments to determine the types of seabed habitat present in the operational area, along with determining whether commercial scallop beds were present.
- Engage a highly experience Marine Fauna Observer (MFO) to be present on the survey vessel and implement shutdowns in the event of whale sightings.
- Deploy patrols along the beach adjacent to the survey vessel when it was working close to shore and underwater sound levels were predicted to trigger thresholds for human discomfort (for swimmers and divers) to ask people not to swim during those times.
- Form an Advisory Panel to inform the design of pre- and post-marine habitat field assessments (for plankton, rock lobster, scallop and fin-fish).
- Deploy seabed sound logging equipment to determine ambient underwater sound levels prior to the survey and sound levels during the survey for validation against modelled predictions.
Aventus is providing continued approvals, stakeholder consultation, and activity implementation services for the CarbonNet Project (via AGR Australia Pty Ltd) as it progresses through to offshore geophysical and geotechnical investigations and the drilling of an offshore appraisal well.
Numerous challenges were encountered and overcome for this activity, including:
- Being the first GHG activity undertaken in Australian offshore waters;
- A client unfamiliar with the EP process;
- A survey area occurring in both State and Commonwealth waters, meaning a single EP to meet the requirements of two regulators;
- Location in shallow waters with rocky reef;
- Fisheries claims of the presence of extensive scallop beds (later found to be incorrect);
- Close proximity to lifestyle townships;
- The release of several studies relating to potential negative effects of MSS on benthic invertebrates and plankton;
- Operations exclusion periods to account for peak spawning period for commercially important fish species, the summer tourist season and recreational fishing competitions;
- The development of detailed mitigation measures to ensure no impacts to swimmers and divers.
The Summary EP for the MSS is available at:
An EPBC Act Referral was also prepared.
Aventus is providing continued approvals support for the CarbonNet Project as it progresses through to offshore geophysical and geotechnical investigations and the drilling of an offshore appraisal well.