Authorities turn attention to marine biodiversity of North West Shelf

Aug 01, 2000 02:00 AM

Efforts to protect the famous Barrier Reef have long been in force, but now authorities are turning more attention to the marine biodiversity of the North West Shelf - one of Australia's most important offshore oil and gas producing areas. In fact the North West Shelf Study is emerging as Australia's largest environmental management project - its quest, to provide sustainable opportunities based on a better understanding of the marine environment.
Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Resources Nick Minchin, and Western Australia's Minister for the Environment Cheryl Edwardes, have just announced an extra A$ 6 mm funding for the research study which began in 1997. Senator Minchin said the project was being 'boosted substantially' by some of the key oil and gas players on the Shelf - including Woodside and Apache, as well as the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association and the Australian Geological Survey Organisation.
"The North West Shelf Study will deliver detailedknowledge of the marine ecosystem, its limitations and opportunities in a region that generates more than A$ 6 bn for the Australian economy," he said. "This research will help us avoid some of the costly mistakes resulting from development in other regions for which Australians are now paying dearly," he said.

The study aims to eliminate problems which have resulted from a lack of understanding of the environmental impacts of specific developments and assessing developments in isolation. Management of the 110,000 sq km study area is currently covered by more than 200 separate Federal, State and Local Government laws. "We need to manage the known and as-yet-undiscovered wealth of the North West Shelf in a sustainable manner," Edwardes added.

Source: Energy24
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