Nobbys Beach protest against Asset Energy's gas exploration porject planned for May 19

Hundreds of people gathered at Nobbys Beach on March 18 to protest against a plan for seismic testing off the coast of Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
Hundreds of people gathered at Nobbys Beach on March 18 to protest against a plan for seismic testing off the coast of Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Opponents of gas exploration and a possible drilling plan off the coast of Newcastle will hold another protest at Nobbys Beach on Saturday.

In a symbolic gesture, organisers say the protesters will line the beach holding hands to “protect the coastline” from oil and gas projects.

It comes after Perth-based company Asset Energy conducted seismic testing in search of gas about 30km off Newcastle’s coast last month.

The company responded to an official call from NSW Parliament for the federal government to suspend the operation this week by saying the state government had not acted on evidence and that Asset Energy was “vigorously pursuing” its gas exploration project.

A satellite image of PEP11, off the coast of Newcastle, where seismic testing will take place as part of gas exploration.

A satellite image of PEP11, off the coast of Newcastle, where seismic testing will take place as part of gas exploration.

Saturday’s protest will start at the park near Nobbys Beach at 10.45am.

“It’s clear that our community wants an investment in clean energy,” Hunter Community Environment Centre spokesperson Johanna Lynch said. 

“Offshore drilling creates a completely unnecessary risk for marine life, we are standing together to make that clear to all decision makers.”

Wilderness Society representative Renee Thomas said she expected to see hundreds of people on the beach.

“There is a really strong community response to protect our whales and dolphins from seismic testing and offshore drilling,” she said.

“People want to see marine life protected.”

Asset Energy spokesman Toby Foster told the Herald this week no safety or environmental incidents had occurred during its east coast operations.

“Production of natural gas from the PEP11 [licence] area could support the 300,000 manufacturing jobs, one million households and 33,000 businesses in NSW that rely on affordable, reliable supplies of natural gas,” he said.

Comments