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Chevron Protects Over 20,000 Turtles Nest on Barrow Island, Australia


Chevron protects over than 20,000 turtles nest on Barrow Island, Australia. Barrow Island is a sunbaked nature reserve painted with reddish soil, scrubby bushes and undulating limestone hills that is home to 24 species and subspecies found nowhere else on Earth. Located 37 miles (60 km) off the Western Australian coast, the island was last connected to the mainland more than 8,000 years ago. Giant perentie lizards as fast as an Olympic sprinter, golden bandicoots, burrowing bettongs and flatback turtles inhabit the island.

Barrow Island. It has become the largest onshore oil field in Australia and is also home to the Chevron-operated Gorgon Project. In 2009, Australian State and Commonwealth Governments approved the Gorgon Project, and today it is one of the world’s largest natural gas projects and the largest single-resource development in the country’s history. The Gorgon Project is operated by an Australian subsidiary of Chevron (47.3 percent interest)

“It only takes one incident to destroy a species,” said consultant and naturalist Dr. Harry Butler, who has worked in partnership with Chevron for the last 50 years. “Chevron has the highest-level government-approved program designed to continue to preserve the environmental values of Barrow Island. It is a globally recognized model.”

Chevron Australia managing director. “Our team is setting new benchmarks in quarantine management involving surveillance and monitoring of non-native species and responding to any threats.”

Since oil was discovered in 1964, Chevron has preserved the integrity of the island’s environment by maintaining natural habitats and preventing the introduction of nonindigenous plants, animals and micro-organisms. More recently, these efforts have been supported and sustained by the development of the QMS.

“Quarantine management is about understanding the risk associated with our material pathways and putting effective barriers in place at key points during fabrication and in the supply chain to prevent quarantine risk material reaching Barrow Island,” said Chevron Quarantine Manager Johann van der Merwe. The QMS applies to all Gorgon Project operations – in Australia, on Barrow Island and at overseas construction facilities.

Thirteen pathways have been identified by which nonindigenous species might enter the island, including food, luggage, marine vessels and helicopter transfers, to name a few. These pathways are part of a series of QMS interventions to protect the island.

To date, quarantine activities have included the screening of 55,000 shipping containers, more than 335,000 passengers and enough food to serve more than 10 million meals.

Chevron is sharing the QMS with organizations worldwide to help stem the global threat to biodiversity from invasive species. The company has advised the U.S. Department of Defense about effective quarantine measures and collaborated with the Australian Antarctic Division to refine quarantine procedures for scientists and tourists visiting Antarctica.

“Exploration increasingly takes us into remote and sensitive areas,” said van der Merwe. “What we have achieved on Barrow Island helps support Chevron’s endeavors to unlock future potential, particularly in locations with high conservation values.”

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