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Oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight. Australia

The Great Australian Bight Alliance successfully opposed plans by big Norwegian oil company Equinor which would risk this pristine ocean for an oil field.


Great Australian Bight is a large oceanic bight, or open bay, and a home to a unique array of marine life. Whales, sea lions, birds, turtles, fish and sponge gardens all depend on its pristine waters [3].  The Indigenous people of the Nullarbor and Western Eyre Peninsula have been its custodians for tens of thousands of years - and remain so today [5].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight. Australia
State or province:Great Australian Bight
Location of conflict:Victor Harbor
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

After years of protests and high opposition by environmental and traditional custodians of the Bight, Norwegian oil giant Equinor decided to abandon the $200,000,000 project to deepwater drill in the Great Australian Bight Marine Park, arguing that the project’s potential is not commercially competitive [1-4]

Level of Investment for the conflictive project200,000,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:01/01/2016
End of the conflict:01/05/2020
Company names or state enterprises:Equinor from Norway
Relevant government actors:Nopsema Australian National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:- The Great Australian Bight Alliance
-Mirning Traditional Owners
- Clean Bight Alliance Australia (West Coast SA),
- Oil Free Seas - Australia,
- Sea Shepherd Australia,
- Sea Shepherd
- Adelaide Chapter,
- Surfrider Foundation Australia
- The Wilderness Society South Australia
- Indigenous people of the Nullarbor and Western Eyre Peninsula
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Mirning indigenous people; Indigenous people of the Nullarbor and Western Eyre Peninsula
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Oil spills, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Withdrawal of company/investment
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The successful fight for the Bight was a grassroots campaign against the exploitation of oil reserves in the Bight, which narrowed into a struggle against Norway’s giant ---Equinor.
Sources & Materials

[1] The Guardian 2020: Great Australian Bight: Equinor abandons plans to drill for oil
[click to view]

[2] The Fight for the Bight (2020)How the Bight Was Won
[click to view]

[3] The Fight for the Bight (2019): "A special place"
[click to view]

[4] The Guardian 2019: Great Australian Bight: Wilderness Society launches legal challenge to Equinor's oil drilling approval
[click to view]

[5] The Fight for the Bight (2019): "Statement of Concern"
[click to view]

[6] Offshore Technology [2020] Equinor faces legal challenge over Great Australian Bight oil drilling
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:KH ENVJUST Project ICTA-UAB
Last update30/07/2020
Conflict ID:4995
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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