• An assessment into the safety of drilling an oil well in the Great Australian Bight has been halted. (Getty)Source: Getty
NOPSEMA sends Equinor’s Environmental Plan back to the company for further information to be provided within 60 days.
Brooke Fryer

28 Jun 2019 - 11:44 AM  UPDATED 28 Jun 2019 - 11:55 AM

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority yesterday asked oil giant Equinor for more information regarding its plans for drilling in the Great Australian Bight.       

The Norwegian oil company submitted an environmental report with the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOSPEMA) in April seeking approval to drill a deepwater oil well into the Bight 467kms west of Port Lincoln by early 2020.

NOPSEMA was to hand down its findings by the end of June, but on Thursday the independent authority announced they had requested additional information, delaying the process further.

“NOPSEMA has requested further information from Equinor on its environment plan for their proposed petroleum exploration drilling activity in the Great Australian Bight,’’ NOPSEMA said in a public announcement.

The statement said their specialist team had found “gaps” while reviewing the plan. 

Equinor has 60 days to provide the additional information before the assessing can re-commence.

In a statement released on Thursday,  Equinor said the request for more information was a standard step in the assessment process and that the company would submit the additional information within the timeframe.

Earlier this month, Equinor’s country manager Jone Stangeland told NITV News they would not go ahead if they “believed there was any chance of an oil spill, we would not go ahead with this project”.

The company has had 239 oil spills but Mr Stangeland said none of these spills were "well incidents". 

Greenpeace Australia Pacific and Elders from along the Bight told NITV News Equinor did not widely consult with Aboriginal communities.

A senior campaigner at Greenpeace Nathan Pelle said Equinor has refused to consider that Indigenous groups as "relevant persons".

"They think they don’t need to consult with indigenous groups," he told NITV News earlier this month. "They have said they have met with Indigenous groups, although they don’t name that many.”   

Latest oil giant with plans to drill in Bight alleged to have not consulted with local First Nations peoples
A Norwegian oil company plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight by the end of 2020 but must consult appropriately with Indigenous communities along the South Australian coast.
NITV News - Traditional owner fears planned BP drilling could damage Great Australian Bight
A Mirning man from South Australia has warned that the Great Australian Bight risks destruction if oil giant BP is allowed to drill in the area. Bunna Lawrie, a traditional owner from the head of the Bight, is concerned about the impact on whale species, and says the Bight is "a gift of life". Disaster-prone oil company BP has applied to drill four exploration wells next year, with a decision pending from the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority. South Australian Independent Senator Nick Xenophon says the risk assessment process is flawed and inadequate.