Huge win for Southern Australia as one of the world’s biggest polluters abandons Bight oil drilling plans
Press release - 12 October, 2017
October 13, 2017: Greenpeace says the time has come for Norwegian oil company Statoil to “Gå hjem” (go home) too as Chevron follow BP in abandoning plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight, leaving Statoil as the last desperate oil major persisting with risky deepwater oil exploration.
Statoil’s plans would place thousands of kilometres of pristine coastline, fishing towns, and tourist icons in grave danger, with companies admitting a major oil spill would reach coastal towns such as Kangaroo Island within days.
“The news Chevron has given up on drilling in the Bight means the coastal communities of Southern Australia have dodged another bullet, but the threat of Statoil still looms,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Campaigner Nathaniel Pelle said.
“Oil spill modelling conducted last year for Statoil’s well locations show that the entire southern coastline of Australia would be at risk in the event of an oil spill in the Great Australian Bight.
“Coastal towns from Esperance in WA, to Port Lincoln and Kangaroo Island and even Victoria’s Great Ocean road are still in danger from Statoil’s proposed deepwater wells.”
Statoil announced their intentions to drill in the GAB after taking over two of BP’s exploration permits in June this year. Their announcement came mere months after the Norwegian national regulator voiced concerns over a surge in serious safety incidents at their wells.
“Statoil are planning to expand their operations into the pristine South Australian coastline right at a time when their record of incidents and spills at wells have increased catastrophically,” Pelle said.
“That worsening safety record includes a doubling of the volume of oil spills from their Norwegian wells last year and fourteen major safety incidents in the past eighteen months.
“And this is despite Norway’s stricter regulations around oil drilling compared with Australia.
“Chevron’s announcement shows the only sane thing to do is for the federal government to terminate all oil leases in this area, reform our national oil regulations to world’s best practice, and move quickly to protect one of the world’s most biodiverse regions and the communities that surround it.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
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