Six more days to drill Equinor

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

On the 20th of February Norwegian oil company Equinor announced they'd be drilling in the Great Australian Bight. The public were then allowed thirty days to comment on Equinor's plans.

This much you all know, it's been covered in detail here and elsewhere, however it's come to light that not everyone knows how to fill in the NOPSEMA forms. Direct engagement with environmnetal bureaucracy is a rare thing, but don't be daunted.

To explain how it works we got Sean Doherty on the line to explain each part of the NOPSEMA form.

"First of all, Equinor’s environment plan on their proposed Stromlo drilling program is 1,500 pages long, and once you take out 500 pages of smiling Norwegians it’s still a daunting read. Unless you’ve worked in oil and gas or possess a strong science background, much of it will be tough to understand, and that’s fine. I’d strongly encourage people to still have a look at it and understand what they’re planning."

"Now, for the comments page: The first three questions [see image below] refer directly to environmental aspects of the plan, and you don’t have to answer them. Any comments in these three boxes have to refer specifically to parts of the plan. Read the plan, and if anything seems wrong to you, clearly state why in the relevant box. Stay on point."

"If you like you can just fill in the final box - 'Do you have any other comments?' You have more freedom here to comment about why Equinor shouldn’t be allowed to drill. You can speak about the threat to marine life, the threat to local industry and jobs, you can object to a huge new fossil fuel project at a time when we should be investing in renewables. You can speak from the head or from the heart."

"Filling out this form is far more valuable than any petition. Your comments go first to NOPSEMA, and then to Equinor themselves. Your comment officially becomes part of the process, and it means the people making the decision hear you directly."

Click here to have your say. Comments close on March 20th.



Ardi100's picture
Ardi100's picture
Ardi100 commented Thursday, 14 Mar 2019 at 3:31pm


griffo1's picture
griffo1's picture
griffo1 commented Thursday, 14 Mar 2019 at 3:43pm

Also email your local members of Parliament, both state and Federal. Especially important with a Federal election soon.

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Thursday, 14 Mar 2019 at 6:16pm

If it was to happen I would expect Sea Shepherd to play a significant role here.


Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone commented Thursday, 14 Mar 2019 at 7:05pm

please please please someone silence the pessimist in me (not a pessimist in life, just when there's big money at play), that there is 1. Someone at Equinor actually reading the comments i.e against against against blah blah against 2. They do read and actually give a shit cause 3. They have intended what they want to do and that's exactly what they want to do. Swayed by internet comments? I think not

But in the words of Seymour Skinner - "Prove me wrong kids, Prove me wrong."

I am the bone

seen's picture
seen's picture
seen commented Monday, 18 Mar 2019 at 10:14pm

Did you pop in a response man? Only takes about 20 mins to do properly. I’m sleeeping better since I did, and if it doesn’t work well then we’ll go to the next phase. Only got 2 more days man.... I agree re pessimism, but Christ they are well over 20000 comments now.. that alone has gotta give them pause for thought.

JL's picture
JL's picture
JL commented Thursday, 14 Mar 2019 at 8:04pm

You can contact the relevant Federal Ministers here:

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Thursday, 14 Mar 2019 at 10:01pm

homework is due,
who hasn't done theirs ?

Spearman's picture
Spearman's picture
Spearman commented Thursday, 14 Mar 2019 at 10:33pm

wonder how many people it takes to sign an objection to this for them to reconsider.

philosurphizingkerching's picture
philosurphizingkerching's picture
philosurphizing... commented Friday, 15 Mar 2019 at 5:05pm

Well when Metgasco were planning to drill for gas at Bentley on the northern rivers Lismore council ran a poll and 87% of people voted against Metgasco , yet they still went ahead with their plans to drill.
So much for real democracy.
Here is a timeline of what happened next.

Federal Election: Coalition voted in. New Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane declares expansion of the gas industry in NSW.
OCTOBER 2, 2013
Metgasco announces plans to test for conventional gas at Bentley.
APRIL 1, 2014
About 2000 protesters mass outside the Bentley Rosella site at dawn, however the heavy equipment is a no-show.
MAY 10, 2014
Police and the Baird Government refuse to confirm if 800 police from across the state will be tasked to break up the Bentley protest camp.
MAY 15, 2015
State Government suspends Metgasco's Bentley licence for failing to meet community consultation conditions and refers the company to the NSW corruption watchdog. Metgasco confirms they will seek compensation over the government's decision to suspend its licence.
APRIL 24, 2015
The NSW Supreme Court overturns the State Government's suspension of Metgasco's exploration licence in Bentley.
NOVEMBER 2, 2015
Metgasco's board of directors agrees to sell the company's PEL 13, 16 and 426 licences to the State Government for the $25 million on offer, pending a shareholder vote.
DECEMBER 16, 2015
Shareholders vote to accept the buyback offer. The Northern Rivers becomes gasfield free.
JANUARY 20, 2016
Metgasco starts decommissioning and rehabilitating old wells, starting at Dobies Bight.

What people don't realize about the 2000 protesters rocking up to Bentley at dawn is that this was just the tip of the iceberg, if the drilling machinery had of turned up it is estimated there would have been 10,000 people turning up in their cars creating the biggest gridlock ever in Australia.
This is what stopped Metgasco.

I wonder how much compensation the Australian government would have to pay Equinor if the drilling in the bight does not happen.

seen's picture
seen's picture
seen commented Monday, 18 Mar 2019 at 10:16pm

It’s an exploratory well, not a commercial one as yet,, so maybe not much?

crip's picture
crip's picture
crip commented Thursday, 14 Mar 2019 at 10:52pm

There have been a couple of pollies in Norway saying that their govt should be vetoing the project, and they have a majority (?) shareholding in the company.

Gee Sea's picture
Gee Sea's picture
Gee Sea commented Friday, 15 Mar 2019 at 12:02am

Norway has a trillion dollar future fund from the profits of fossil fuels. It has stopped investing in fossil fuels because they are predicted to be a bad bet. Greedy bastards can’t stop drilling though and wanna role the dice cause that’s what they do?
By the way? Where is Australia’s future fund. A few coal advertisments shut down the super profit tax. Tax structures mean those big companies pay very little tax anyway. Qatar earns way more from the same amount of gas than we do. And I bet they don’t gave domestic shortages.
Oh thanks swellnet for the opportunity to comment to Equinor and for the great articles.

Ted from the moon's picture
Ted from the moon's picture
Ted from the moon commented Friday, 15 Mar 2019 at 8:15am

This is worth a listen - Sean provides an overview of his involvement on this issue.

Ensea's picture
Ensea's picture
Ensea commented Saturday, 16 Mar 2019 at 2:33am

Let them drill ya hippies it’ll be sweet

toosha's picture
toosha's picture
toosha commented Monday, 18 Mar 2019 at 6:13pm

Hi Everyone it's great to have this plan but like the bloke from Lismore said they will "just do it anyway".
Therefore plan B!
How much tax are they paying?
Who gave them the opportunity?
What does the Australian people benefit?
What are their plans if things go bad?
If things go bad how much of a security deposit have they paid?
Who decided this?

shraz's picture
shraz's picture
shraz commented Wednesday, 20 Mar 2019 at 7:32pm

Yes. The real questions are:

Who let this happen?

Who will cover the cost of env impact? Aus taxpayers?

Whats in it for the Southern Ocean?

Who from Equinor and from the Aus Govet will stand up to the community and argue that it is a good idea, no risk, no possible impact?

30,000+ now

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Tuesday, 9 Apr 2019 at 7:18am
Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Tuesday, 9 Apr 2019 at 7:20am

Wow very!