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

Live now: How Surfers Get Paid, Season Finale


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

Victory’s never tasted so salty-sweet!

news // Feb 25, 2020
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

“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.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Behold Australia’s Nine & NZ’s Two Challenger Series Qualifiers*

May the Southern Cross smile upon you at Snapper.

Mar 27, 2023

Long Read: Pete Beachy Is No Bore 

The life and times of an off-the-grid Alaskan surf pioneer who claims to cure cancer.

Mar 26, 2023


Watch: ‘Haiku’

Scenes From a Remote Reality, by Vans & Karina Rozunko

Mar 25, 2023

Sun Room: The Overnight Success Of A Young Surf Band

What's it like touring the world and living off of McDonald's?

Mar 25, 2023

How Surfers Get Paid, Episode 6

An instructional manual for the modern professional surfer

Mar 23, 2023


Caity Simmers — Extreme Competitive Surf Vlogger

Cool is chemical.

Mar 23, 2023

Globe Pulls Out Of The Apparel Game

…and, Taj Burrow and Dion Agius are now looking for new main sponsors.

Mar 22, 2023

Owen Wright Announces Retirement From Competitive And Heavy-Water Surfing

But will surf final CT event at Bells.

Mar 22, 2023


Fancy An Ale, Some Good Music, And A Bunch Of Tubes?

Ballet's minimalist full-length will satiate your needs.

Mar 22, 2023

João Chianca Spent Seven Years On The QS Without A Sponsor

And look where he is now.

Mar 22, 2023

Take Stab’s 2023 Audience Survey, Win A 3-Board Quiver

Stab towels and Premium subscriptions also up or grabs.

Mar 21, 2023

Jessi Miley Dyer On The New Challenger Series Schedule And More

Did you know that you could miss the mid-year cut and still theoretically win the…

Mar 20, 2023


Don’t Miss The Last Wave Of The First 2023 SEOTY Entry

Jacob Willcox's ‘Into Dust’ just set the bar.

Mar 20, 2023

Warren Smith on New Welcome Rivers Range and Buying Jaguars on Facebook Marketplace  

Now available in the Antipodes...

Mar 20, 2023


Wavegarden Spills How The Sausage Is Made

BTS of their global air wave rollout ft. Yago Dora, Dion Agius, Reef Heazlewood and…

Mar 18, 2023

Minds, Machines, And The Magic Of Hands

How modern shapers split their time between designing files and hand-finishing boards.

Mar 18, 2023


Are Hectic Lefts The Final Finless Frontier?

William Aliotti is on the right-foot-forward fringes.

Mar 17, 2023

Watch: Luke + Eddie

A mostly unknown, on-duty lifeguard won the most prestigious big-wave event in history. How Luke…

Mar 17, 2023