Equinor releases Bight drilling plan

Equinor has backed its ability to drill safely in the Great Australian Bight after releasing its draft environmental plan for public comment.

The Norwegian-based company, formerly known as Statoil, is the operator and 100 per cent owner of offshore exploration permits EPP 39 and 40 located in the Bight.

With the aim of commencing the proposed Stromlo-1 exploration drilling program in EPP 39 in late 2020, Equinor has released the draft environment plan for public comment before it submits its final proposal to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA).

Equinor Country Manager for Australia Jone Stangeland said a significant amount of work had gone into the plan to ensure the drilling process could be undertaken safely.

“Over the last two years we have engaged with more than 100 different organisations in the South Australian community and they have consistently asked us to be open about our plans,” he said.

“We have listened, and today we are releasing the complete draft EP for our offshore exploration well.

“This draft EP is the result of more than two years of careful preparation and our 1, 500-page plan demonstrates how we can drill safely and includes a robust emergency response plan.

“The EP documents the existing environment in the Great Australian Bight and describes all relevant risks, however unlikely.

“By identifying every possible risk, we can better prepare for safe operations.”

Drilling in the Bight has been a source of consistent debate in the industry, with some such as Federal Resources Minister Matthew Canavan arguing the resource could help Australia become self-sufficient in oil supply.

Despite the possible economic benefits, various environmental groups and at least 15 local councils have openly opposed any drilling, arguing the practice would have negative impacts on marine life and the environment.

Public commentary on Equinor’s plan is open for a period of 30 days, with comments submitted directly to NOPSEMA.

For more information visit the Equinor website.

If you have company news you would like featured in The Australian Pipeliner contact Assistant Editor David Convery at dconvery@gs-press.com.au.

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