Australian regulator the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) has ordered Norwegian energy company Equinor to resubmit its environmental plan (EP) for its proposed drilling project in the Great Australian Bight.

Equinor’s proposed exploration drilling project in the Great Australian Bight would be located in the Stromlo-1 well, in the EPP 39 licence, which is 372km offshore South Australia.

An environment plan for the proposed drilling activity in the Great Australian Bight to NOPSEMA was submitted by Equinor in April 2019.

Equinor is required to further provide consultation, oil spill risks, source control, and other information on matters protected under Part 3 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

In a press statement, NOPSEMA said: “The opportunity to modify and resubmit does not represent a refusal or rejection of the environment plan.

“This is a normal part of NOPSEMA’s environment plan assessment process. Nopsema is required by law to provide titleholders a reasonable opportunity to modify and resubmit their plan if it doesn’t meet the regulatory requirements for acceptance.”

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In June 2019, NOPSEMA requested Equinor to provide further information as part of the iterative assessment under the Commonwealth Environment Regulations.

NOPSEMA said that it has given 21 days for Equinor to respond on its request. Equinor also has an option to request for extension on the resubmission.

In September 2016, Wilderness Society urged Nopsema to refuse BP’s application to drill in the Great Australian Bight.