“The PSA regards this as one of the most serious well control incidents on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) since Statoil’s Snorre A incident in 2004.” – PSA determination, 21 February 2017. 

SYDNEY, April 24, 2019 – New research by Greenpeace reveals the scale of international safety incidents on oil and gas mining ventures owned by Equinor, the Norwegian company looking to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight.

In the last three and a half years, more than 50 separate incidents (onshore and offshore) have been reported at Equinor facilities, with Norwegian regulators noting a troubling number of “non-conformities” in Equinor’s safety procedures and equipment maintenance.

The research shows that Equinor had experienced six offshore incidents since the start of the year – a shocking average of almost two a month.

The latest – a major gas leak the Equinor’s Aasta Hansteen gas field in the Norwegian Sea – shut the platform from 8 April and it was only reopened on 17 April¹.

“This research shows that accidents and near-misses can and do regularly happen in the offshore oil industry and Equinor is no different to any other company,” said Greenpeace Australia Pacific senior campaigner Nathaniel Pelle.

“All of these incidents took place in Norway, which has some of the highest regulatory requirements for inspections in the world. Australian regulations are nowhere near as strict.

“What’s really terrifying is how many of these incidents could have been worse if support infrastructure had not been close at hand to provide help quickly. Equinor does not plan to provide a second support rig in the Bight to help in the event of an incident – they would have to do that under Norwegian law.

“Equinor’s cost cutting in the Bight could mean help might not arrive in time to prevent an incident escalating into a major environmental catastrophe.”

Equinor’s proposal to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight does not include having a support rig on hand to help in the event of an incident, as the company sees this as commercially unviable.

“We know from Equinor’s own Oil Pollution Emergency Plan that an oil spill in the Great Australian Bight could have catastrophic consequences for some of our best loved natural wonders, including the Great Ocean Road, the Twelve Apostles and Kangaroo Island,” said Nathaniel Pelle.

“The Great Australian Bight is a national treasure we can’t afford to risk.”


A full media pack, including the data and an executive summary is available for download here:



High-resolution images are available to download here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rc4gsh7hl55j8sp/AADuRK6cgnkN91Pz0srN0s3ya?dl=0


For interviews with Greenpeace campaigners contact:

Liz Stephens, Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Lead

0407 224469 / [email protected]


Martin Zavan, Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, 0424 295 422 / [email protected]


Notes to editors:


The latest gas spill at Equinor’s Aasta Hansteen gas field in the Norwegian Sea was reported: