Marine Environment: Repurposing of Port Stanvac foreshore

It was a big news story for Australian oil and gas in the early 2000s.

Mobil Oil Australia announced that the 260-hectare Adelaide Refinery site located at the industrial Port Stanvac Wharf in South Australia, was to be closed in 2003 after four decades of use.

The closure naturally required detailed consultations about the best way to remediate the site, a conversation that would end up lasting for the best part of a decade.

In 2009, the decision was made to demolish the site, with the process carried out in 2014, with Mobil aided by an auditor accredited by the South Australian Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to carry out regular environmental assessments throughout the decommissioning process, including implementation of a 400-metre marine exclusion zone around the former wharf area.

Eventually, following the destruction of the refinery, an agreement was reached between Mobil and the South Australian Government in 2015 to retain a 215-metre groyne comprising part of the former Port Stanvac foreshore for public use.

This required that Mobil and its contractors demolish the wharf and associated infrastructure while retained the groyne and a few pylons to minimise disturbance to the marine life that made its home in the surrounding area (much to the encouragement of local divers and recreational fishers).

The groyne was then converted into a public walkway at a cost of more than $5 million, standing as a successful example of a remediation project carried out in a body of water.

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