Great Australian Bight

Great Australian Bight

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill ruined ecosystems and lives. The Bight is deeper more remote, and stacked with oil the world can’t afford to burn. Let’s rule out a repeat.

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.

Photo: Ingvar Kenne

The threat to life

When news of oil spread, the fossil fuel giants lined up to secure their patch. If tapped and burned, this oil would single-handedly blow Australia’s carbon budget. We could kiss goodbye to any hope of a liveable climate in future. It’d also demand 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? Or the agonising 87 days it took BP to plug that leak?

While BP tried to keep its plans for the Bight out of the public sphere, we felt Australians had the right to know what an oil spill on our shores might look like. So we commissioned expert independent spill modelling.

It showed the potential for an unmitigated disaster, risking our coastline from Western Australia to New South Wales, affecting thriving beach communities, fisheries, tourism operations and wildlife sanctuaries.

A groundswell of opposition. 

The modelling helped to cement the community opposition we’d been building from day one. Councils across South Australia withdrew support for the project. High profile Australians began to speak out.

Our campaign forced BP to release its own spill modelling, which made our modelling look conservative.

To date, BP and Chevron have both pulled out of the Bight. But Norwegian Government-owned Equinor still has plans to begin exploratory drilling.

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.