BP’s Bight drilling plan approval delayed again

Australia’s offshore oil and gas regulator National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) has asked BP PLC to supply more information about its plans to drill the Stromlo-1 wildcat in the Great Australian Bight offshore South Australia.

NOPSEMA says it needs the data to decide whether the company’s environmental plan is acceptable, although it has not said exactly what part of the plan lacked the detail it requires. The regulator merely said the request for more information was a normal part of its assessment of an environmental plan.

BP has already had two environmental plans for drilling in the Bight rejected following NOPSEMA’s finding that they did not meet regulatory requirements.

The request is not an invitation to resubmit the plan or, indeed, a rejection, so the project is still in limbo.

BP says NOPSEMA has neither rejected nor accepted its environmental plan. The latest move is a request to clarify aspects of the company’s plan and for BP to supply information that has not been included in the data submitted so far.

NOPSEMA has requested the information by Oct. 28, although it also said BP can request more time if needed.

It now appears that even if acceptance of the plan is forthcoming after this latest request, the timeframe for spudding the well this year will be extremely tight.

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