Great Australian Bight

Great Australian Bight

We've already forced two oil giants, BP & Chevron, to back out of the pristine waters of the Bight. For our climate, coastal communities & wildlife, we must do the same with Equinor.

Beneath its rough surface, the Great Australian Bight supports an abundance of life. But thousands of metres underwater lies an untapped oil basin that risks it all.

Caught in the middle are the communities who depend on this intact coastline, where a catastrophic oil spill would end life as they know it. If we want a liveable climate, this oil must stay in the ground.

The threat to life

If tapped and burned, the oil in our Bight would single-handedly blow Australia’s carbon budget—and our liveable climate. It’d also require some of the deepest, most dangerous and remote offshore oil wells ever drilled.

All in a vital nursery for the protected southern right whale, home to endangered sea lions and more than 36 species of dolphins and whales.

Photo: Stéphane M. Grueso

Keep Big Oil out of the Bight

Who can forget the images of oil-smothered wildlife after the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico? Or the agonising 87 days it took BP to plug that leak?

When we first heard of BP's plans for our Bight, we commissioned expert independent spill modelling to show Australians what an oil spill on our shores might look like. It showed the potential for disaster along our coastline, from WA to NSW—affecting beach communities, fisheries, tourism and wildlife sanctuaries.

Thanks to the public pressure our campaign has built, BP and Chevron have both pulled out of the Bight. But oil giant Equinor still plans to begin exploratory drilling here. 

Equinor wants to drill for oil in the Bight. Here's what independent scientific modelling shows could happen if an oil spill occurred.
"17 local councils have passed motions raising serious concerns and opposition to Equinor's drilling plans. Community protest is widespread; it is consistent, determined and it is becoming global." – Climate Campaigner Jess Lerch

A groundswell of opposition. 

From the beaches of Australia to the harbours of Norway, we've now taken the #fightforthebight right to Equinor's doorstep. In May, the Wilderness Society formed part of a delegation to tell the Norwegian Government and other shareholders that Australians won't stand for oil drilling in our pristine southern seas.

Despite seeing over 10,000 people protest against its drilling plans in Australia and hundreds in Oslo, Equinor has so far refused to withdraw its plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight.

Our vision

The world already has more oil than it can afford to burn. It’s the wrong time in history to begin dangerous deepwater drilling in this pristine marine ecosystem.

Our oceans don’t just provide food. They work to recycle nitrogen, carbon and water — the building blocks of life. Most of the air we breathe is produced in our oceans. By supporting life in the Bight, we’re helping ourselves.

We’ll challenge every single drilling application. We’ll commission more independent research. And we’ll make sure Australia’s regulatory body pulls its weight.

Our fight for the Bight won’t be over until the permits are cancelled and this thriving marine sanctuary is finally protected from the fossil fuel industry.

Photo: Rita Kluge
Photo: Rita Kluge

What we’re doing:

  • Challenging deepwater drilling permits.
  • Countering fossil fuel industry spin in the media.
  • Publishing independent modelling and research.
  • Helping to fix the regulatory process.
  • Supporting the communities standing up to Big Oil in SA and beyond.
  • Standing up for intact marine ecosystems and the jobs they provide.
  • Championing a swift transition to clean, renewable energy.
Photo: Paddle out for the Bight event, March 2019 | Darren Longbottom