Equinor withdraws from controversial Great Australian Bight drilling plan

Norway’s Equinor has announced that it will discontinue its exploration drilling plan at Stromlo-1 in the Ceduna sub-basin, offshore South Australia in the Great Australian Bight.

Drilling in the Bight has been a hugely controversial issue in Australia, and has seen the withdrawal of BP, Chevron and Karoon Gas in recent years.

Equinor said that following a holistic review of its exploration portfolio, it concluded that the project’s potential is not commercially competitive compared with other exploration opportunities.

“The approval of the Stromlo-1 exploration well Environment Plan confirmed our ability to safely operate in the Bight. However, Equinor has decided to discontinue its plans to drill the Stromlo-1 exploration well, as the opportunity is not commercially competitive,” said Jone Stangeland, Equinor’s country manager for Australia.

The news is being celebrated by environmental groups, who have been campaigning against drilling in the region for years. The area is a nursery for the southern right whale, and home to endangered sea lions and more than 36 species of dolphins and whales.

Peter Owen, a director at Wilderness Society South Australia, commented: “The Wilderness Society welcomes Equinor’s decision to responsibly withdraw from the marine wilderness that is the Great Australian Bight. It’s been a while coming, but the right decision is the right decision and we have no doubt that the hundreds of thousands of people that have supported the campaign to Fight for the Bight will be both delighted and relieved to hear this news.”

Last month, the Wilderness Society South Australia had commenced legal proceedings to challenge the environmental approval of the project.



Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.
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