Equinor Ditches Great Australian Bight Drill Plan

27 Février, 2020, 05:44 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Equinor abandons plans to drill for oil in Great Australian Bight

Norwegian oil giant Equinor has abandoned plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight, declaring the controversial project did not make commercial sense.

"I know many will find Equinor's decision not to proceed with this oil exploration project extremely disappointing", Pitt said.

The decision comes barely two months after Equinor's Environment Plan for the Bight was approved by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority.

"Equinor has made a decision to abandon its plans to drill the Stromlo-1 exploration well because it is not profitable", said Jone Stangeland, director of Equinor Australia, in a statement.

Equinor became operator and 100% owner of exploration permits EPP39 and EPP40 in June 2017, covering approximately 12,000 square kilometers in the Ceduna sub-basin.

The decision by Norway's Equinor to pull the plug on plans to drill for crude off Australia's south coast raises two issues for future exploration projects, namely the economics must stack up and environmental concerns can not be ignored.

Equinor continues to have an interest in oil and gas exploration in Australia, including an exploration permit offshore Western Australia.

Prior to the approval, Equinor had discussed its plans with hundreds of South Australian community leaders and the broader public, many of whom will be disappointed that the potential economic and energy benefits success in the Bight will now be at least delayed.

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"Of course, any exploration and development have to be done in an environmentally safe manner", he acknowledged.

"The Bight basin remains one of Australia's frontier basins and any proposals for new oil and gas fields in this area will be assessed fairly and independently", he mentioned.

"Never doubt the power and determination of the Australian people", he said.

"Four major oil companies have now left the Bight since the Fight for the Bight began".

Greenpeace, which has campaigned for years against drilling in the Bight, welcomed Equinor's move.

The Australia Institute SA Director Noah Schultz-Byard said it's time for the State and Federal Governments "to step up" and give the Great Australian Bight World Heritage protection.

Streaky Bay-based former pro surfer and fisherman Heath Joske has been at the forefront of the protests, even speaking at the Equinor AGM and leading a mass paddle out of surfers in the oil company's home country of Norway.

Federal Minister for resources Keith Pitt said that the decision was "disappointing" but expressed his support for future plans to drill in the bight.

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