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WA lets Santos dump oil platform


Santos says it will ‘dispose’ of thousands of tonnes of perfectly good steel.

The WA State Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Energy, Hydrogen Industry and Industrial Relations, Bill Johnston, should urgently stop Santos from disposing of thousands of tonnes of steel that should be recycled. Santos is preparing to remove a massive oil and gas platform named ‘Campbell’ from WA State Waters off the Pilbara coast.

News reports here, here and here say that the massive steel pylons that support the Campbell platform are earmarked for ‘disposal.’ Santos’ environmental plan for the decommissioning work also uses the word ‘disposal’ instead of ‘recycle.’ Both Woodside and ExxonMobil have both recently promised to recycle steel recovered from Commonwealth waters.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) is demanding that the steel be recycled so it can be reused, saving Australia from additional carbon emissions. The steel, after being processed in an electric smelter, could then be used to make assets like wind turbine towers and bases. FoE has written to Minister Johnston and Santos to demand that the steel from the project be recycled rather than disposed of, but they have not replied.

Friends of the Earth Offshore Fossil Gas Campaigner Jeff Waters said this was a typical example of how Western Australia is becoming the ‘dirty man’ of Australia for allowing recyclable materials to be dumped.

“How extraordinary is it that in 2023 a major company is intending to dispose of tens of thousands of tonnes of perfectly good steel,” Jeff Waters said.

“Nobody in the oil and gas industry has calculated the value of steel from the decommissioning work that needs to be done, or the carbon footprint of not recycling it.”

“The minister needs to stop Santos; they need to ensure the company does the right thing by the environment.” He said.

Jeff Waters said that the existing federal temporary decommissioning levy should be extended and increased to pay for recycling centres and decommissioning ships to process all the steel from the more than 50 platforms that need to be removed from the ocean in coming years. Supporters can sign a petition at

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