In a massive environmental win following significant work from varying parts of the community, the Norwegian oil company Equinor has announced it’s pulling out of plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight.
The move follows significant pressure from environmental groups, politicians, athletes, fishing businesses, traditional land owners, musicians and more, including through the #FightForTheBite campaign.
Equinor announced today that the project is “not commercially viable”, and follows the lead of other major companies to pull out of similar project in the Bight. But Santos, Murphy Oil and Bight Petroleum still have plans to drill in the area.
A number of well-known women stepped up for the campaign, including six time world champion surfer Layne Beachley and former independent MP Dr Kerryn Phelps (pictured above, from their participating in the campaign in 2019).
The campaign’s also seen a number of ambassadors throw in their support in different ways, including Maev Kerri Fitzpatrick, a surfer and now long-distance swimmer.
Independent MP Rebekah Sharkie has also campaigned heavily from her electorate of Mayo in South Australia, writing to 169 Members of the Norwegian Parliament urging them to act, and also pushing to get the sight a World Heritage Listing.
The Wilderness Society recently filed documents in the Federal Court, with the backing by local government and traditional owners, challenging federal environmental approval of oil drilling in the Bight.
“Taking on environmental issues is not easy but with constant pressure, they can and will be won,” she recently told Women’s Agenda.
Greenpeace has issued a statement this morning describing the announcement as “an incredible win for people power and nature”
“Never doubt the power and determination of the Australian people,” said David Ritter, CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific.
Equinor had plans to drill in deep waters 372 kilometres south of the Ceduna coast, after taking over over BP’s exploration licence to drill there.
Greenpeace described it as “the latest fossil fuel company to pull out of drilling for oil in the Great Australian Bight” — noting it follows BP in 2016, ,Chevron’s in 2017, and Karoon Gas in 2019.
“The only way to protect coastal communities and the Great Australian Bight’s unique marine life is to rule out drilling permanently,” said Ritter.
Greenpeace has called on the Australian Government to impose a permanent moratorium on oil drilling in the Bight.