Scene from a helicopter overlooking the Great Australian Bight

BP axes controversial Australian venture


PERTH, October 11, 2016 – BP will halt exploration in the Great Australian Bight, the energy giant announced Tuesday, halting development of an area estimated to hold as much oil as the Gulf of Mexico.


The company said its decision was based solely on the relative profitability of the project and did not come as a response to repeated criticism of its environmental plans by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority of Australia, nor to continuing protests by environmental groups that warned of a disaster that could rival the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill.

“This decision isn’t a result of a change in our view of the prospectivity of the region, nor of the ongoing regulatory process run by the independent regulator NOPSEMA,” said Claire Fitzpatrick, BP’s managing director for exploration and production for Australia, in a press release. “It is an outcome of our strategy and the relative competitiveness of this project in our portfolio.”

BP has already invested millions in the venture. It remains to be seen how the move will impact other companies with licences to explore in the area, including Karoon, Santos and Chevron.

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