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Equinor Ditches Great Australian Bight Drill Plan  | Rigzone

Equinor Ditches Great Australian Bight Drill Plan  | Rigzone

Equinor has informed the Australian authorities that it will discontinue its exploration drilling plan (Stromlo-1) in the Ceduna sub-basin offshore South Australia.

The Norway-headquartered business outlined that “following a holistic review of its exploration portfolio” it concluded that the project’s potential “is not commercially competitive compared with other exploration opportunities in the company”.

Equinor said it has informed the federal, South Australian and local authorities about its decision. The company entered the licenses in the Ceduna sub-basin as a partner in 2013 and took over as operator with a 100 percent equity share in 2017.

“The approval of the Stromlo-1 exploration well environment plan confirmed our ability to safely operate in the Bight. However, Equinor has decided to discontinue its plans to drill the Stromlo-1 exploration well, as the opportunity is not commercially competitive,” Jone Stangeland, Equinor’s country manager for Australia, said in a company statement.

“We will engage with the federal and state authorities regarding our decision to discontinue the exploration program. We hold an exploration permit offshore Western Australia and will maintain other ongoing interests and activities in Australia,” he added. 

Equinor has been present in Australia since 2012 and currently holds two exploration permits in the Great Australian Bight and one exploration permit in the North West Shelf, its website shows.

The company announced that it was awarded exploration acreage in the Northern Carnarvon Basin offshore Western Australia in October last year. Exploration permit WA-542-P was awarded to Equinor as operator and 100 percent owner.

WA-542-P is located west of the Dorado oil discovery. Dorado discovered 171 million barrels of oil on a 2C basis, Carnarvon Petroleum Limited revealed in August 2018.

The Dorado discovery was said by Wood Mackenzie Australia Upstream Senior Analyst Daniel Toleman to have created “a big exploration buzz around Perth”.

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