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$100M offshore petrochemical project secures regulatory approvals


An oil development worth more than $100 million is one step closer to commencement after receiving two approvals from authorities.

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) recently approved the environment plan for Equinor’s Stromlo-1 Oil Project in the Great Australian Bight, 476km west of Port Lincoln.

The agreement means the proponent now has two of four approvals needed before it can begin exploratory petroleum drilling 2.24km underneath the surface. The first approval was granted back in the year 2011 and the second took much longer because the proponent had to resubmit its environmental plan twice.

‘Took almost eight months’

“The rigorous assessment process undertaken by NOPSEMA took almost eight months and involved a range of specialists with considerable environmental, scientific and engineering experience,” NOPSEMA said on its website. “In the event Equinor secures all approvals, it will be subject to NOPSEMA’s inspection and compliance regime. Failure to comply with the environment plan will result in enforcement action.”

Equinor still needs approval for its well operations plan and facility safety case before drilling can begin. Construction is expected to start before Christmas 2020 and take just two months to complete.

The Federal Government considers the Great Australian Bight to be filled with untapped resources that could make it a major petroleum basin for the nation that could create thousands of new jobs.

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“In a continent as large as ours I hope we can find another oil and gas province to replace the Bass Strait,” Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan said according to the Australian Associated Press. “The Great Australian Bight is relatively unexplored but considered to be highly prospective for petroleum resources, with potential to provide significant economic benefits and help strengthen our fuel security as a nation.”

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