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Understanding the biodiversity of the environments in which we operate or wish to operate is an important aspect of environmental management.

Understanding Western Australia’s coral reefs

Australia’s northwest has many globally significant coral reef ecosystems. These include the iconic fringing Ningaloo Reef as well as some of the world’s best examples of offshore reefs such as Scott Reef, the Rowley Shoals and the lesser known Rankin Bank and Glomar shoals.

As a leading explorer and operator in this region we have long recognised a need for “good science” to underpin our decision making. We are committed to ensuring our operations in this region remain sustainable by understanding reef function and the pressures faced from global warming, cyclones, over fishing and industry.


Woodside has taken the approach of co-investing with Australian researchers to utilise and develop their independent expertise. The outcome of these collaborations has resulted in increased understanding and knowledge sharing among stakeholders of the biodiversity value and impacts of this region.

In 2013 Woodside co-funded the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and the Western Australian Museum to undertake over 50 days of field-based environmental research to better understand and document the tropical ecosystems of Australia’s northwest. In addition, five scientific papers were published by our research partners in internationally peer-reviewed journals.

1.Scott Reef

Over the past 20 years Woodside has worked with, and co-funded research undertaken by AIMS at Scott Reef. This work has resulted in the creation of a “world class” knowledge database of the biodiversity and functioning of Scott Reef.

In 2013 Woodside in conjunction with AIMS and the Australian Government released the book “Discovering Scott Reef” which provides a review of 20 years of exploration and research at Scott Reef.

Download the book at

2.Marine life of the Kimberley region

To improve current understanding of the Kimberley’s marine biodiversity, Woodside provided funding to the Western Australian Museum to review and analyse existing data and undertake further field sampling.

Fieldwork undertaken during 2013 included biodiversity surveys of the offshore Ashmore and Hibernia Reefs 2 which resulted in the identification of many new species.

For more information:

3.Rankin Banks and Glomar shoals

In 2013, Woodside carried out biodiversity surveys of the Rankin Banks and Glomar shoals to collect biodiversity data to add to the limited qualitative observational data that existed for these areas. Preliminary survey results indicate that the biodiversity and ecological value of these areas are higher than first considered.

An increased understanding of these types of areas will assist industry in oil spill risk assessments, and planning for industry operations in the region.


1. Link to Youtube Video

2. Embedded Youtube Video below