The company says its decision follows a review of its upstream strategy earlier this year, which included focusing exploration on opportunities more likely to create value in the near to mid term, and building largely on BP’s existing upstream positions.
Claire Fitzpatrick, BP’s managing director for exploration and production, Australia, said: “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.
“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. It is an outcome of our strategy and the relative competitiveness of this project in our portfolio.”
Fitzpatrick added: “This decision has been incredibly difficult and we acknowledge it will be felt across the South Australia region. We have made significant progress with preparations for drilling in the Bight with the support of communities and federal, state, and local governments.”
BP added that partner Statoil has accepted its decision.
The company was awarded exploration licenses over four blocks in the Ceduna area of the Great Australian Bight in January 2011. It commissioned seismic data acquisition during late 2011 to early 2012. In 2013 Statoil farmed into 30% interest of the licenses.
BP has a contract with Diamond Offshore Drilling to provide a newbuild Moss CS60E semisubmersible drilling rig, constructed by Hyundai Heavy Industries for use in deepwater and harsh marine environments. The decision does not impact this rig contract.