BP wins deadlines extension for big Bight plan

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NOPSEMA has granted BP an extension to lodge a third and final environmental plan to drill the Stromlo-1 well in the Great Australian Bight.
The submission is now expected to be lodged by August 31 and BP now faces a race against time to begin drilling the Stromlo-1 well in the calmer seas of summer following assessment of the supermajor’s game plan and safeguards by the offshore regulator.
BP’s plan will have to be watertight as the $1 billion exploration program it hopes to expedite in the Bight is expected to face opposition from controversial environmental lobby group Sea Shepherd, which has already signalled plans to deploy its flagship SSS Steve Irwin to the region.
BP was awarded blocks EPP-37, 38, 39 and 40 in the Ceduna Sub-basin acreage release and is an exploration frontrunner in the region, proposing to drill about 300knm south west of Ceduna in water depths of 1000-2500m. The company is committed to $605 million in exploration spend – in addition to another $805 million – and has commissioned the US$755 million custom made rig, the Ocean Great White, from Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea for the program.
The stakes are high, with University of Adelaide professor Peter McCabe, who heads the Australian School of Petroleum, telling PESA News last month: “The size of the fields that would be worthwhile producing from in such a remote location might well produce at such a rate that Australia would turn into an oil exporting country.”
Over 1000 businesses in South Australia have expressed interest in working with BP through the newly formed Industry Capability Network, while new infrastructure projects in South Australia are also being spawned as a spinoff of BP’s hunger the Bight.

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