Hydrocarbon sheen in the Bass Strait - West Tuna platform

Media release - Published 2 February, 2017

On 1 February 2017, NOPSEMA was informed by Esso Australia Resources Pty Ltd (Esso) of an identified oil sheen adjacent to the West Tuna platform, located in Commonwealth waters in the Bass Strait, 45km off the Gippsland coast, Victoria.

The West Tuna oil export pipeline was depressurised overnight, and the pipeline will remain shut down while the source of the spill is investigated.

Oil spill modeling undertaken on 1 February, indicated that the spill was likely to dissipate by the morning of 2 February. Aerial observations undertaken on 2 February did not detect any visible sheens of oil on the surface of the water. No affected wildlife has been detected by Esso or reported to NOPSEMA.

NOPSEMA has launched an investigation into this matter, and cannot comment on any specific aspect of the investigation while it is ongoing.


The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) is Australia's independent expert regulator for health and safety, environmental management, structural and well integrity for offshore petroleum facilities and activities in Commonwealth waters.

By law, offshore petroleum activities cannot commence before NOPSEMA has assessed and accepted detailed risk management plans documenting and demonstrating how an organisation will manage the risks to health and safety to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP) and the risk to the environment to ALARP and with acceptable environmental impacts.

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