Christopher Russell, 17 November 2015

THE plan to drill for petroleum in the Great Australian Bight by BP Australia does not pass environmental hurdles, the federal agency in charge of offshore exploration says.

BP has been told its proposal does not meet regulatory requirements, according to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority.

“After a thorough and rigorous assessment, NOPSEMA has determined that the environment plan does not yet meet the criteria for acceptance under the environment regulations, and has advised BP of this decision,” the agency said in a statement.

“NOPSEMA is required by law to provide BP with a reasonable opportunity to modify the environment plan.

“If BP chooses to resubmit a modified plan, it will then be assessed by NOPSEMA.

“The environment regulations and NOPSEMA’s assessment policies, clearly outline the environment plan assessment process including time frames for resubmission and the number of times modification and/or additional information may be required.”

BP has been aiming to drill the first two of four exploratory wells some 350km southwest of Ceduna in the 2016-17 summer using the Ocean Great White rig being built in South Korea.

BP, which is partnered by Norway’s Statoil, is the most advanced of three adjacent exploration projects, ahead of Santos/Murphy and Chevron.

Last month, BP lodged a 1200-page plan with NOPSEMA covering technical issues and how it would deal with environmental risks such as oil spills.

Extracted in full from The Advertiser.