BP keeps Diamond rig contract after ditching Bight plans

Following a decision by the British oil major BP to abandon its Great Australian Bight drilling program, Diamond Offshore has confirmed that the Ocean GreatWhite rig, that was due to drill offshore Australia for BP, will stay under a contract with the oil company. 

Diamond Offshore Drilling said on Tuesday it has been notified by its customer, BP, that BP will no longer pursue a drilling campaign in the Great Australian Bight.

In 2013, BP entered into a contract with Diamond for Diamond’s harsh environment ultra-deepwater semi, the Ocean GreatWhite, and had intended to use the rig on the Great Australian Bight campaign.

Diamond said that BP has confirmed that its decision to abandon its Bight drilling plans will not impact Diamond’s rig contract and that the pair is exploring alternative locations for the Ocean GreatWhite.

To remind, BP had proposed to drill four wells in the area, however, that drilling program was rejected by the regulatory body NOPSEMA. BP then submitted another drilling program proposing two wells and the final decision for the two-well program has been postponed by NOPSEMA, which has asked for more information from BP regarding the proposed program.

In addition to BP’s regulatory hurdles with the Australian offshore regulator NOPSEMA, BP also encountered opposition from the Australian Green Party and the environmental organization Greenpeace who had called for the national regulators to dismiss BP’s application to drill in the Great Australian Bight, following concerns that the rig selected for the project might have faulty equipment. Namely, reports emerged that the rig could be fitted with faulty subsea bolts, which could lead to an oil spill in the middle of a commonwealth marine reserve.

The Ocean GreatWhite is the world’s largest semi-submersible drilling rig that was built by South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries and delivered in July 2016.

The rig, measuring 123 m in length and 78 m in width, is capable of operating in waters up to 3 km deep and drilling down to a depth of 10.67 km from the sea surface.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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