Since the 1960s, 13 wells have been drilled in the Great Australian Bight. The last was drilled by Woodside in 2003. To date no commercial developments have been pursued.
In 2011, the Australian Government issued explorations permits to BP and subsequently Chevron, and Santos in partnerships with Murphy Oil and JX Nippon.
Two smaller companies (Karoon and Bight Petroleum) hold permits closer to shore but have not undertaken any activity.
In 2016, BP abandoned its plan to drill in Bight, and a year later Chevron followed suit. Both companies cited international market and business conditions as reasons for their withdrawal.
In 2017, the Norwegian energy company Equinor took over part of the permits previously held by BP and announced plans to drill a well 400kms offshore from Ceduna. If robust environmental planning requirements are met and approvals are obtained, Equinor plans to drill late in 2020 or early 2021.
Read more about the history of oil exploration in Australia the the Bight.