The energy resource potential of the Great Australian Bight is starting to be recognised, with the publication of a comprehensive environmental management plan for proposed drilling offshore of South Australia.

The 1500-page draft Environment Plan (EP) was released by Equinor for public comment and will be finalised after feedback from the community. It marks the first time an EP for offshore exploratory drilling has been published in full.

APPEA South Australia Director, Matthew Doman, said it was important that oil exploration resume in the Bight to understand the scale of the resources and whether commercial development was possible.

“The prospects of a successful development offshore South Australia could bring significant economic and energy benefits for the state and the nation,” Mr Doman said.

A report commissioned by APPEA in 2018 found successful oil exploration in the Great Australian Bight could create more than 2000 jobs in South Australia and generate over $7 billion in average annual tax revenue to Federal and State Governments over the next four decades.

Australia’s oil production has declined significantly since 2000, and is at its lowest levels since the 1960s. Any industry activity in the Great Australian Bight would only proceed after wide community consultation and close scrutiny by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA).

Mr Doman said the industry was committed to listening and responding to the community’s questions and concerns.

“The industry will continue to work with local stakeholders and the wider community to build understanding of the benefits and impacts of offshore petroleum activity to South Australians,” Mr Doman said.

APPEA this week launched a campaign to highlight supportive views of community leaders towards exploration in the Bight and their concerns to ensure the environment, other industries and coastal communities are protected.

Lauren ‘LJ’ Butler is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and has been part of the team at Monkey Media since 2018.

After completing a Bachelor of Media, Communications and Professional Writing at the University of Wollongong in 2014, and prior to writing about the utility sector, LJ worked as a Journalist and Sub Editor across the horticulture, hardware, power equipment, construction and accommodation industries with publishers such as Glenvale Publications, Multimedia Publishing and Bean Media Group.

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