Norwegian oil giant Equinor has ditched plans for a drilling operation in the Great Australian Bight, saying they were not “commercially competitive”.
Following a “holistic review” of its exploration portfolio, Equinor has decided that the project wouldn’t be as lucrative as other opportunities within its portfolio.
“The approval of the Stromlo-1 exploration well environment plan confirmed our ability to safely operate in the Bight,” said Jone Stangeland, Equinor’s country manager for Australia.
“However, Equinor has decided to discontinue its plans to drill the Stromlo-1 exploration well, as the opportunity is not commercially competitive.”
The company becomes the third oil giant to abandon exploration of the Great Australian Bight, joining BP and Chevron. It has informed the federal and South Australian governments about its decision.
“We will engage with the federal and state authorities regarding our decision to discontinue the exploration programme,” Mr Stangeland said.
“We hold an exploration permit offshore Western Australia and will maintain other ongoing interests and activities in Australia.”
The decision has been welcomed by a number of activist groups. The Wilderness Society had previously launched action in the Federal Court to challenge environmental approvals granted to the company by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority.
“This is a huge win for the community, the environment and [South Australia’s] tourism and fishing industries,” Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said on Twitter.
“Good for the planet [and] jobs. Congratulations to everyone who fought so hard.”