In what environmental group Greenpeace is calling “a momentous win for people and planet”, oil companies Santos and Murphy Oil have announced that they will abandon plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight.
“This is an incredible win for all of those who relentlessly campaigned for years to protect the Bight from offshore drilling,” said David Ritter, CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific.
“So many determined Australians worked incredibly hard to kick big oil companies out of our precious Bight – including coastal communities, Indigenous traditional owners, surfers, the seafood industry, tourism operators and other local businesses,”
He added: “Never doubt the power and determination of the Australian people.”
Several oil companies have already abandoned Bight plans
BP, Chevron, and Norwegian oil giant Equinor have all abandoned their plans, and the latest announcement means only Bight Petroleum remains with intentions to drill for oil in the Bight. However, its last plans were knocked back by the regulator earlier this year.
According to Greenpeace, the only way to protect coastal communities and the Great Australian Bight’s unique marine life is to rule out drilling permanently.
“The world’s climate cannot afford to open disastrous new oil frontiers, and fossil fuel companies like Santos have no place in Australia while they continue to trash our climate with extreme oil and gas projects,” Ritter said.
“Oil projects like this have no place in Australia’s waters and Greenpeace will continue to fight to protect Australia’s wild whale sanctuary.
Government must impose permanent freeze on Bight drilling
“The Australian government should now impose a permanent moratorium on oil drilling in this precious marine wonderland.”
Santos announced on Friday that, along with Murphy Oil Corporation, it had relinquished the permit it was awarded in 2013 to explore the site. Murphy Oil had a 20 percent interest in the permit.
In a statement, Santos said the permit was surrendered in good standing after completing “the joint venture’s work program obligations”.
“The Santos strategy is to build and grow around our five core long-life natural gas assets and the Great Australian Bight falls outside these assets,” the company said.