Apache Energy has shut down production at its unmanned Harriet Bravo offshore LNG platform about 70km west of Dampier after a subsea flowline gas leak nearby, a company spokesman has confirmed.

The spokesman said a small subsea natural gas release was detected near the Carnarvon Basin platform about 2pm on Tuesday.

The cause of the leak remains unclear.

The spokesman said relevant regulatory authorities had been notified and Apache had shut down production from the well to isolate the source of dry gas release on the subsea flowline attached to the platform.

A remotely operated vehicle sent to the site is yet to inspect the site because it had to wait until the tides come in.

Harriet Bravo Platform is about 10km from the Montebello Islands, an archipelago of about 174 small islands starting 20km north of Barrow Island and 130km off the Pilbara coast.

The islands are part of a State Government conservation reserve and reefs around them have been recognised by the Environmental Protection Authority as being of “exceptional conservation significance”.

Greens MLC Robin Chapple said while the full extent of the leak was yet to be determined, it was another example of the failure of the offshore gas and petroleum industry.

He said the platform’s proximity to the Montebello Islands Marine Park and Barrow Island A Class reserve highlighted the potential for an ecological disaster if the incident got out of hand.

“This follows the Montara spill and fire, the Front Puffin spill – both off the Kimberley coast – and Apache’s fire at Varanus Island,” he said.

“The relevant state and federal agencies must tighten regulations and oversight of the petroleum industry - self-regulation and reporting is not enough.”

Mr Chapple said the Department of Transport must report publicly about the incident as a matter of urgency: “These incidents must stop”.

The West Australian

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