Offshore petroleum drilling and risk: A study of proposed deep-sea exploration drilling in the Great Australian Bight
A study of proposed deep-sea exploration drilling in the Great Australian Bight
18 April 2019
Professor Tina Soliman Hunter, Professor of Petroleum Law and Director of Aberdeen University Centre for Energy Law, outlines the risks of Norwegian oil giant Equinor's plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight.
© Greenpeace / Jaimen Hudson
“When these risk factors are added together, I do not have confidence in Equinor’s plan nor NOPSEMA’s capacity to prevent a well blowout in the Great Australian Bight.”
– Professor Tina Soliman Hunter, Professor of Petroleum Law and Director of Aberdeen University Centre for Energy Law
The Great Australian Bight is home to Australia’s whale nursery, with rare southern right whales migrating to the Bight every year to feed, play and raise their young. It’s also the lifeblood of thriving coastal communities from Victoria to WA. But the Bight is under threat from risky oil drilling, with Norwegian oil giant Equinor progressing plans to drill as soon as next summer.
This independent report, prepared by Dr Tina Soliman Hunter for Greenpeace Australia Pacific, concludes that Equinor’s current proposal is too risky to proceed given the remote location, the harsh physical environment and the lack of surrounding support infrastructure to deal with an incident.
It also says Australia’s oil spill response measures don’t meet global best practice and wouldn’t be permitted under Norwegian law.