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Equinor to discontinue exploration drilling in the Great Australian Bight

We put transparency and safety first, and we were the first company to publish a draft environment plan and invite public comment before submission to the regulator. We welcomed your engagement and held over 400 meetings. However, we have now decided to discontinue the plan for drilling. 


We spent years planning our operations in South Australia in the minutest detail and our EP was approved by the regulator in December 2019, confirming our ability to safely operate in the Bight. 

However, following a holistic review of our exploration portfolio, we have concluded that the project’s potential is not commercially competitive compared with other exploration opportunities in the company. 

Equinor has informed the federal, South Australian and local authorities of our decision. For more information about the decision, see our press release below. 

Our full EP remains available from the regulator NOPSEMA’s website, here:

Information about Equinor in Australia

Our Environment Plan.

We voluntarily published our draft Environment Plan (EP) for the Stromlo-1 Exploration Drilling Program in February 2019, and then reviewed all relevant submissions that were received during the 30-day public comment period. Our updated EP was submitted to the regulator in April 2019 and was accepted in December. The final EP is available here, and on NOPSEMA’s website:

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Our EP in brief 

A guide to our draft Environment Plan for the Stromlo-1 Exploration Drilling Program.

The full EP now amounts to over 5000 pages and took more than two years to prepare, with extensive dialogue and engagement with stakeholders shaping its development. To facilitate understanding of this comprehensive publication, we prepared this brief guide to our draft EP, available for download below.

About the public comment period

We were the first company to make a draft Environment Plan available to the public voluntarily. When the 30-day public comment period closed in March 2019, we responded to relevant comments before updating and submitting the EP to NOPSEMA in April 2019. It was accepted in December 2019.

FAQs: Frequently asked questions

Why did we decide to discontinue plans to explore the Great Australian Bight? Here, we answer this and other important questions. 

Fact sheets about key issues:

Where is our licence located?

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Thirteen wells have already been drilled in the Great Australian Bight by other companies. The well we planned to drill, Stromlo-1, lay in licence area EPP 39, 372 km south of the closest southern coastline and 476 km west of Port Lincoln, as shown in the map above.

Consultation and engagement with the public

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Photo: Getty Images

We held over 400 meetings with almost 200 separate organisations throughout South Australia to listen and learn about local issues. 


 In early 2019, we held several drop-in meetings to allow members of the public in affected local communities to meet our team and ask questions, and we continued to hold meetings with groups who expressed an interest in meeting us.

Authorities, associations and organisations

General enquiries to Equinor Australia can be submitted here.