Equinor needs to modify Stromlo-1 plan, Australian regulator says

Australian offshore oil and gas safety regulator NOPSEMA has told Norway’s Equinor to modify its environment plan for the planned Stromlo well in the Great Australian Bight.

The Great Australian Bight. Source: Equinor

The Norwegian company submitted the environment plan for the drilling of the Stromlo-1 exploration well in April 2019. NOPSEMA wasn’t able to make a decision within 30 days, it then in late June requested further info from Equinor.

Equinor then in August requested more time, and NOPSEMA resumed the assessment process in September. In an update on Monday, NOPSEMA said it had, on November 8, issued a notice to Equinor “requiring them to modify and resubmit their environment plan for proposed drilling in the Great Australian Bight.“

Equinor has 21 days to provide NOPSEMA with further information about matters relating to consultation, source control, oil spill risk and matters protected under Part 3 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

“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,” NOPSEMA said.

Equinor’s planned well is located in the Ceduna sub-basin, off southern Australia. The well is located approximately 400 km southwest of Ceduna and 476 km west of Port Lincoln and in a water depth of approximately 2240 meters.

According to Equinor’s plan, the petroleum activity will occur anytime between October and May during the three years validity period from 2020 to 2022. No drilling will take place between June to September inclusive.

The duration of the drilling of the Stromlo-1 well is expected to be approximately 60 days, with the drilling planned to begin in late 2020.

The drilling would be carried out by a mobile offshore drilling rig supported by three offshore vessels and helicopters. The support vessels would resupply the offshore drilling rig from the supply base at Port Adelaide while the helicopters will operate from Ceduna.

Per Equinor, the Stromlo-1 well will not be cored or production tested for hydrocarbons in the event of a discovery. Once the well has been drilled, it will be permanently plugged and abandoned. The results will be evaluated prior to determining whether to proceed with appraisal or further exploration.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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