Australia: BP’s drilling plan hits environmental hurdle

Australian offshore petroleum safety body NOPSEMA has dismissed BP’s environment plan related to a proposed drilling operation in the Great Australian Bight.

According to the safety watchdogs’ statement on Monday, BP’s plan failed to meet regulatory requirements.

The regulator said: “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.”

“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,” NOPSEMA said.

NOPSEMA did not provide information on what was lacking with the BP plan, submitted on October 1.

BP’s proposed Great Australian Bight (GAB) exploration drilling program proposes to drill four exploration wells in Commonwealth marine waters in the area, using a semi-submersible drilling rig.

GAB drilling area is approximately 400 km west of Port Lincoln and 300 km southwest of Ceduna in South Australia.

In order for exploration to start, BP needs to get its environment plan cleared by NOPSEMA. According to BP’s proposed drilling plan, the exploration would begin in summer 2016.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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