Scarborough is a proposed offshore gas mine being planned by Woodside which will accelerate catastrophic climate change, threaten endangered marine life and damage the oldest and largest art gallery in the world – the ancient Murujuga Aboriginal rock carvings.
This fossil fuel proposal comes at a time when countries around the world are committing to reducing emissions. Developments like Scarborough mean that Australia is falling behind and accelerating irreversible global heating.
Also known as the Scarborough to Pluto train 2 expansion, the proposal is incompatible with limiting catastrophic climate change. Even the International Energy Agency agrees: the world can’t open up any new fossil fuel gas fields, like Scarborough, if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Scarborough is one of the dirtiest new fossil fuel projects currently planned in Australia – on track to release 1.69 billion tonnes of carbon pollution in total. That’s the equivalent of taking 20,000 flights around the world every day, for the next 25 years.
In November 2021, Woodside approved a final investment decision (FID) on the Scarborough offshore gas mine. FID is the point in the project planning process when the decision to make major financial commitments is taken. But the campaign to Say NO to Scarborough Gas is only just getting started.
Despite this announcement, Scarborough can still be stopped. Woodside has made FID without the approvals needed for Scarborough to proceed, without the gas contracts needed to support it, and after repeated delays, cost blow outs, and job cuts. On top of all of this, Woodside is currently facing two meaningful legal challenges in the Supreme Court of Western Australia. As people around the world demand urgent action on climate change, Woodside’s gamble will be a uniting moment for our community-powered movement to keep Scarborough gas in the ground.
Scarborough will mine the seafloor 300 kilometres from the coast of Western Australia, and in dangerously deep water. The fossil gas will be mechanically drilled from depths which are more than 900 metres below sea level.
This mining will disrupt delicate marine habitats, endanger whale migration paths and involve building a pipeline through the protected Montebello Marine Park, harming dolphins, turtles, sharks, rays and sea snakes.
Once the fossil fuel gas has been drilled out of the sea floor it will be piped through pristine marine habitats to Murujuga, where emissions from its processing will increase air acidity and promote corrosion of 40,000 year old Aboriginal rock art.
In order to construct its massive offshore gas mine, Woodside would need to blast and dredge millions of cubic metres of seabed; hammer giant concrete piles into the ocean floor; and dump millions of tonnes of dredge sea bed spoil including sand, gravel, mud and clay across the Dampier Archipelago – the richest area of marine biodiversity in Western Australia.
The construction of the pipeline poses a high risk of injury and death to protected marine life including turtles, dolphins, and dugongs. The pipeline operations also risk severe impacts on migrating humpback whales.
Scarborough is only the first phase of Woodside’s massive proposed offshore gas mining scheme, the Burrup Hub. If the second phase of this goes ahead, mining gas from the Browse Basin will literally involve drilling in and around the unique Scott Reef, which supports ecosystems not found anywhere else on earth.
Woodside’s plan to mine in and around Scott Reef would threaten a critical sanctuary for nesting sea turtles, pygmy blue whales, and the extremely rare dwarf sperm whale, huge pods of dolphins and other species of endangered marine life.