Australian regulator reassessing BP’s Ironbark environment plan

Australia’s National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) has begun reassessing BP’s Ironbark-1 exploration drilling environment plan.


NOPSEMA stated that the Ironbark-1 Exploration Drilling Environment Plan was submitted in December 2019 by BP’s subsidiary BP Developments Australia Pty Ltd. The environmental plan was resubmitted on January 17, 2020.

BP entered into a joint operating agreement with Cue Exploration, Beach Energy, and NZOG covering exploration permit WA-359-P. BP is also the operator under the joint operating agreement.

To meet their work program obligations under the title, the titleholders are required to drill a single exploration well within WA-359-P.

The Ironbark exploration drilling program is planned in permit WA-359-P, located in Commonwealth waters some 170 kilometers offshore Karratha in a water depth of 300 meters.

The Ironbark exploration drilling program comprises the drilling, evaluation, plugging, and abandonment of one exploration well.

The well is proposed to be drilled by a mobile offshore drilling unit supported by two or three dynamically positioned vessels, including anchor handling, tow, and support (AHTS) vessels.

According to NOPSEMA, drilling activities are planned to begin in the third quarter of 2020. Depending on rig availability, it may begin between the second quarter of 2020 and the second quarter of 2021.

Drilling activities are expected to take approximately 90-100 days excluding weather and operational delays. Drilling and support activities will typically be conducted on a 24-hour basis.