Wednesday, 12 October 2016
Multinational gas and petroleum giant BP withdraws from offshore exploration in the Great Australian Bight - for now.
Multinational gas and petroleum giant BP plc (British Petroleum) operating as BP Developments Australia Pty Ltd (BP), in its capacity as operator of the proposed Great Australian Bight (GAB) Exploration Drilling Program has announced that:
We have looked long and hard at our exploration plans for the Great Australian Bight but, in the current external environment, we will only pursue frontier exploration opportunities if they are competitive and aligned to our strategic goals. After extensive and careful consideration, this has proven not to be the case for our project to explore in the Bight.
Concerned citizens and environmental groups can see this as a win – even if business economics and the risk profile for mega storm in the Great Australian Bight may have had a much to do with this decision as the strength of community opposition.
However, it should be noted that BP does not appear to be abandoning its offshore petroleum exploration leases in the GAB which don’t expire until 2020* and, this multinational is not the only oil and gas corporation with exploration licenses in the area - Santos, Chevron and Murphy Australia Oil received exploration permits in 2013-2015 which are current until 2020-2021, Karoon Gas has a permit current until 2022, joining a Bight Petroleum Pty Ltd presence there not due to end until 2020-21.
Nor has the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) indicated that it is averse to further mining exploration being undertaken in the Great Australian Bight.
* BP had guaranteed to undertake exploration worth about $605 million and drill four exploration wells in 2016-17 and under a “Good Standing Agreement” entered into with the federal government it is reportedly liable for that amount unless it commits to a new project within Australia or its Norwegian joint venture partner StatOil decides to exercise an option to proceed with the GAB exploration program.