Priceless Australian treasure under threat as foreign oil giant takes first steps

February 19, 2019: Greenpeace is demanding the Federal environment minister intervene to end reckless oil exploration in the Southern Ocean, as Norwegian oil giant Equinor takes its first steps towards experimental drilling in the Great Australian Bight Marine Park.

Equinor has today published its environmental plan, continuing to press forwards with a project that places thousands of kilometres of pristine coastline, fishing towns, and tourist icons in grave danger.

“Drilling in the Great Australian Bight, with its extreme depth and violent oceans, is dangerous and irresponsible,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Campaigner, Nathaniel Pelle, said.

“This place is Australia’s whale nursery, it’s populated by probably the highest concentration of dolphins in the world, and is home to more unique species than the Great Barrier Reef.”

“Equinor’s proposed and frankly experimental oil drilling will be in exactly the same location that BP walked away from after disastrous spill modelling rocked their bid – and we have seen report after report showing the catastrophic impact and frightening reach of spills. Equinor’s own modelling demonstrated an oil spill could reach as far north as Port Macquarie.”

Pelle said the lodging of an environmental plan should serve as an alarm for coastal communities everywhere from Western Australia to New South Wales.

“Coastal towns  should be on alert from Esperance in WA, to Port Lincoln and Kangaroo Island right at the epicentre of the oil spill zone, and even Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, Bondi Beach, and the east coast of Tasmania,” he said.

“People who love the marine life and pristine waters of the Bight must rally together and turn away Equinor, just as they turned away BP and Chevron and they should demand their Government save the whales in the Bight by ending oil drilling there for good.”

“The risks of this extreme project are all the more unjustifiable, as the age of oil is draws to a close as electric vehicles become cheaper, and more and more countries move to ban combustion engines and phase out petroleum-based cars – both to combat global warming and to cut dangerous air pollution.”

For interviews contact:

Simon Black

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Media Campaigner

0418 219 086 / [email protected]