Daily Management Review

Australian Authority Rejects BP Proposal to Drill Exploration Wells in Great Australian Bight


11/17/2015




Australian Authority Rejects BP Proposal to Drill Exploration Wells in Great Australian Bight
Australia’s oil and gas regulator has rejected the proposal by Oil and Gas giant BP to drill in the Great Australian Bight.
 
British Petroleum had wanted permission from the Australian authorities to drill four deep-water exploration wells in the Bight from next year.
 
The company was asked to demonstrate how it planned address community concerns about the environmental impact  and the measures it would take to manage the risk of an oil spill in the area.
The reply and the plans that were submitted by BP were not satisfactory and they did not meet all of the regulatory requirements, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority (NOPSEMA) said.
 
The Wilderness Society of South Australia's director Peter Owen said that BP had submitted an "inadequate application".
 
"It doesn't appear that BP even completed an oil pollution emergency plan or a comprehensive risk assessment," he said
 
"BP should take this opportunity to drop its plan to drill in the Great Australian Bight especially after it released a statement last month saying it supported action on climate change," Owen added.
 
The regulator's decision showed there were "significant and unacceptable risks in the proposal" said South Australian independent senator Nick Xenophon.
 
"This decision shows that what BP wants to do is hugely complex and risky and needs to have proper oversight and scrutiny," Xenophon said.
 
"BP has refused to release its full environmental plan and today we can see why. The Great Australian Bight is a priceless Australian asset," he added.
 
Bp has been given a second chance by the NOPSEMA to resubmit a new plan for consideration. The oil and gas company has said that it was preparing second plan and would submit the alternative proposal soon.
 
"Yes, we are going to work hard and take the time to demonstrate we have got our EP [environment plan] right," a BP spokesperson said.
 
"It is usual for NOPSEMA to provide initial feedback that titleholders need to address before resubmitting an updated version. NOPSEMA is a diligent and thorough regulator and we expect to have to work hard and take the time to demonstrate that we have got our EP right," the spokesperson added.
 
 “NOPSEMA is a diligent and thorough regulator and we expect to have to work hard and take the time to demonstrate that we have got our EP right,” the company said in a statement.
  
However amidst this controversy Xenophon said that he would continue to push for the legislation that would give the commonwealth the final say on drilling in the Great Australian Bight.
 
“It appears to be an accident of history that NOPSEMA has no ministerial oversight for decisions as vital as letting exploration drilling into the Great Australian Bight,” Xenophon said.
 
 “BP clearly hasn’t learned from their disastrous Deepwater Horizon spill five years ago,” senator Robert Simms said.
 
The project would put the local marine life at risk, claimed the Wilderness Society of South Australia, which has campaigned hard against oil and gas drilling in bight.
 
(Sources: www.theguardian.com & http://www.abc.net.au)






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