Bight expert report: ‘overconfidence precedes catastrophic failure’

Sydney, May 22, 2019: Sydney Environment Institute’s submission on Equinor’s Environmental Plan raises significant concerns that need urgent consideration by oil industry regulator NOPSEMA and the government, said Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

The submission, authored by some of Australia’s leading petroleum industry experts, highlights an inadequate level of detail in Equinor’s plans to both prevent oil spills and respond to them in a timely fashion.

It also calls out Equinor for having an ‘optimistic’ attitude towards risk, warning sternly about the dangers of modelling the risks of an oil well blowout in the Bight based on past oil drilling projects in far less hostile environments.

“This expert submission gives a blow-by-blow account of the cavalier lack of detail in Equinor’s current Environmental Plan for the Great Australian Bight,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific senior campaigner Nathaniel Pelle.

“What’s more, it highlights deficiencies in Australia’s regulations in comparison with global best-practice. These must be addressed.

“Almost no one thinks this project is a good idea. Both the ALP and the Coalition went into last weekend’s federal election with plans for additional independent scrutiny of the approval process. The government’s commitment to an audit of Equinor’s plans is a start but we hope the concerns raised in this expert submission will strengthen political resolve to act and rule out approving risky oil-drilling projects in the Bight as the science and the electorate demand.

“Equinor’s plans for the Bight would be illegal under Norwegian law. It’s time our government insisted on the same high standards as Norway to protect one of Australia’s greatest natural treasures.”

For interviews with Greenpeace Australia Pacific please contact:

James Norman, 0451291775 | [email protected]

Sydney Environment Institute’s ‘Special Submission to NOPSEMA on the proposed Equinor Stromlo-1 Drilling Program in the Great Australian Bight’ is available on the SEI website.

For interviews with the authors of the Sydney Environment Institute submission, please contact Dr Madeline Taylor on 0487 517 757 or Emeritus Professor Andrew Hopkins on 0447 666 606


Note to editors:

The submission to NOPSEMA was made public today and submitted to NOPSEMA on Friday by an expert group convened by the Sydney Environment Institute.

The submission was authored by the following leading academics and petroleum experts: