Oil giant halts controversial Great Australian Bight plans

Canberra: Oil giant Equinor announced on Tuesday that it has abandoned controversial plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight in a move hailed by environmentalists as a “huge win”.

In a statement, the Norwegian firm, which was granted approval last December to begin exploratory drills in seas off South Australia, said that a review of its global exploration portfolio showed better opportunities for new fields elsewhere, he BBC reported.

“Equinor has decided to discontinue its plans to drill the Stromlo-1 exploration well, as the opportunity is not commercially competitive,” it said.

The Great Australian Bight is said to be one of the most unspoiled marine environments in the world.

Green groups have sought for decades to protect it, but the Australian government has been open to extracting the possible oil riches there.

Equinor is now the latest oil and gas company to have abandoned proposals for drilling in the area since 2016, following competitors BP, Chevron and Karoon Energy.

The decision has been welcomed by activists and some lawmakers who had argued that oil and gas extraction would threaten wildlife and the climate.