Oil and gas super major, BP, has been refused a licence to drill offshore Australia, after regulators claimed the company’s environmental plan was insufficient.
UK based BP had planned to start exploring offshore South Australia, in an area known as the Great Australian Bight, the large open bay covering much of Australia’s south coast.
BP has partnered with Norwegian state run Statoil to explore the waters offshore Australia. The partners were looking to start drilling as early as the second half of 2016, and have already leased the Ocean GreatWhite drilling rig.
The new build ultra deepwater drilling rig, owned and operated by Diamond Offshore, has been leased for a total of three years by BP especially for the Australian exploration, at a starting day rate of US$585,000 + escalations.
According to Australia’s offshore oil and gas regulator, National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), the environmental plan submitted by BP did meet the ‘regulatory requirements’.
The offshore regulators said in a statement: “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.”
BP will now have time to replay and resubmit their environmental plan in accordance with Australian law, which they seem to want to take full advantage of.
BP said in a statement: “Yes, we are going to work hard and take the time to demonstrate we have got our EP right,”