Australia’s offshore regulator has told Equinor it must modify and resubmit its environment plan for drilling in the Great Australian Bight.
The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority (NOPSEMA) has issued a notice to the Norwegian-based Equinor for further information relating to consultation, source control, oil spill risk and other matters protected under Part 3 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Equinor first submitted its environment plan in April this year, with the company looking to drill the Stromlo-1 exploration well in its 100 percent-owned EPP 39 in the offshore Ceduna sub-basin in late 2020.
NOPSEMA made an initial request for more information in June before Equinor requested an extension on its timeframe in August.
The regulator resumed its assessment process but revealed in late September that it required more time to make a final decision.
The results of NOPSEMA’s assessment were expected to be announced this week, but Equinor has now been given 21 days to respond to the resubmission request, of which it can also put in a request for more time.
NOPSEMA said the request for more information is a normal part of the assessment process as the regulator is required to provide titleholders with a reasonable opportunity to modify and resubmit a plan that doesn’t meet the conditions for acceptance.
Earlier this week, research from Greenpeace and a James Cook University professor raised concerns Equinor planned to use large quantities of dispersants toxic to humans and marine life in the event of an oil spill, claiming NOPSEMA would “bend the rules” for the Norwegian company.
An Equinor spokesperson said its methods were outlined in its environment plan and the company would only use substances accepted by Australian regulators.
Stromlo-1 would be located approximately 400 km southwest of Ceduna in water depth of approximately 2,240 m.
For more information visit the NOPSEMA website.
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