Surfers Reign Supreme Over Big Oil As Equinor Pulls The Plug On Great Australian Bight Project

by stab February 25, 2020 2 min read

“Never doubt the power and determination of the Australian people.”

That was the message from David Ritter, the CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific, announcing that the Great Australian Bight is much safer today than it was yesterday.

After a long, public battle to save the Bight from oil exploration, it appears all the energy and passion have paid off. Norwegian oil company Enqinor announced Tuesday that they would be discontinuing their $200-million plans to search for oil in the turbulent southern waters.

In a statement, Equinor ceded that their plans were “not commercially competitive.”

In other words, they couldn’t make the numbers work. It’s worth noting, that attempts from other oil companies in this region have also met a similar fate. BP abandoned plans to drill the bight in 2016. Chevron followed suit in 2017.

“We will engage with the federal and state authorities regarding our decision to discontinue the exploration program,” continued the statement.

Ritter calls it “an incredible win for people power and nature.”

It took a massive commitment from the Australian people to stop the proposed development. As recently as last December, things were not looking promising. At the end of 2019, Equinor received environmental approval to drill 372 km south of the Nullarbor coastline. But the battle persisted, and for now, the good guys have won.

“Just got the news through that Equinor have pulled their plan for the Great Australian Bight and are currently kicking a can back to Norway. Best Tuesday news I’ve had in a long time,” wrote surf scribe Sean Doherty on Instagram. 

Doherty, along with cohort Heath Joske, have been at the forefront of the “Fight For The Bight” movement. 

“For every single person who paddled out around the country, and for all you legends down there in the Bight who’ve been fighting this for years, take a moment to fully appreciate what you’ve done,” continued Doherty. “By paddling out and speaking up and fighting this colossally stupid idea, you’ve kept the Bight wild and free and saved it for future generations.”

It took the whole country rallying around the cause to stop the petroleum madness in the Bight, but for now, there’s much to toast to at the local pubs.

In his essay “Civil Disobedience,” Henry Thoreau wrote, “There will never be a really free and enlightened state until the state comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived.”

It’s safe to say the politicians and decision makers in Australia just learned this lesson.

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