Bye Bye Equinor, Great Australian Bight’s BIG WIN

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Norwegian oil drilling company: Equinor announced it will abandon its off-shore drilling plan in the Great Australian Bight.

The Great Australian Bight is a large open bay marine park between Western and Southern Australia. Well known for its marine biodiversity and rough seas it is also of constant interest to off-shore oil drilling companies. Equinor has had its eye on the bight since 2011, following 400 meetings it was cleared for environmental concerns by NOPSEMA (National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority) this past December. The project involved a 2.2km deep drilling at 400km off the Australian coast. It has been highly controversial due to its perilous position—high currents, rough winds— that could easily cause a spill in a marine biodiversity hotspot. Under intense scrutiny it instigated nation-wide protests for several years.

Protestor in May 2019

Protestor in May 2019

This week Equinor abandoned its plan to continue oil drilling announcing that “following a holistic review of its exploration portfolio, Equinor has concluded that the project’s potential is not commercially competitive compared with other exploration opportunities in the company.”

This came to a great demise for the Australian government as Federal minister for resources Keith Pitt said Equinor’s decision was disappointing, but he was relieved that the company had made clear it would still be part of the oil and gas industry in Australia.

Following years of relentless campaigning this comes as a BIG WIN for everyone else and the Australian coastal community. On behalf of humankind thank you Equinor! For a sound decision in avoiding a potential environmental catastrophe. Meanwhile the Australia Institute is gaining overwhelming support for suggesting the Australian Bight as a world heritage site—ensuring its protection.

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