South Australia’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has revealed an oil spill at the Santos Port Bonython plant, near Whyalla, could be larger than the company has suggested.
Hydrocarbons were detected in groundwater beneath the oil and gas producer’s plant two years ago and the company has built a barrier trench between the plant and the sea to prevent contamination of the marine environment.
Santos last week said the leak had been contained within the confines of the plant, but the EPA has provided conflicting information, saying hydrocarbons had migrated beyond the plant.
It says they have been detected in the groundwater in the foreshore area next to the Santos site but had not bypassed the trench.
The Greens say the trench has failed and fuel has reached the Spencer Gulf, which Santos and the EPA deny.
Investigations into the cause of the leak are continuing.