Professor Tina Soliman Hunter has recently spent time in Australia attending a workshop at the Sydney University Environmental Institute. In addition, Tina has written a report for Greenpeace Australia on drilling for petroleum in the Great Australian Bight; as result, a number of media outlets covered this controversial proposal.
Equinor, the Norwegian state-owned energy company, hopes to drill for petroleum in The Great Australian Bight is located off the remote south coast of Australia and adjacent to the Nullabor Plains and the soaring southern cliffs region. This bay area is Australia’s rich fisheries area, home to Bluefin tuna fleets and other cold water fishery species. In addition, the area is a Marine Park, and hosts migratory whale and dolphin species. It is the location of several threatened species. In addition, the area is thought to be rich in high quality oil, the prize that Equinor is seeking to find and exploit. However, Professor Soliman Hunter considers that Equinor’s proposal to drill in the region fails to adequately identify and manage the exceptionally high risks associated with exploration drilling in over 2000m of water in a remote location where physical conditions are equal to or worse than the North Sea and the Arctic Barents Sea. Professor Soliman Hunter in particular is concerned with the lack of requirements relating to well inspection, which could potentially lead to a loss of well control event similar to that of the Montara incident which occurred in Australia in 2009.
Further information on the outcome of this proposal will be available in due course.