Equinor has decided to discontinue its oil exploration program in the Great Australian Bight, including a plan to drill its deep-water Stromlo-1 exploration well offshore South Australia.
In December last year, Equinor’s deep-water Stromlo-1 exploration well, which is in the Ceduna Sub-Basin, was approved by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA).
Equinor had planned to undertake its exploration activity between November 2020 and April 2021, or November 2021 and April 2022.
However, Equinor has informed Australian authorities that it would discontinue the exploration drilling plan (Stromlo-1).
The company stated that following a holistic review of its exploration portfolio, it concluded that the project’s potential was not commercially competitive compared with other exploration opportunities in the company.
Equinor country manager for Australia Jone Stangeland said the approval of the Stromlo-1 exploration well environment plan confirmed the company’s ability to safely operate in the Bight.
“Equinor has decided to discontinue its plans to drill the Stromlo-1 exploration well, as the opportunity is not commercially competitive,” Stangeland said.
The company has informed the Australian, South Australian and local authorities about its decision.
Australian Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said Equinor’s decision to withdraw was disappointing but the company would not leave Australia.
“Equinor has made it clear this was a commercial decision and the company will continue to be part of the Australian oil and gas industry,” Pitt said.
The company continues to have an interest in oil and gas exploration in Australia, including an exploration permit offshore Western Australia.