BP backs out of Great Australian Bight project

BP said it will not progress its exploration drilling program in the Great Australian Bight, as it intends to focus on opportunities likely to create value in the near to medium term. 

BP has determined that the GAB project will not be able to compete for capital investment with other upstream opportunities in its global portfolio in the foreseeable future, the company’s statement reads.

Claire Fitzpatrick, BP’s managing director for exploration and production, Australia, said that the “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,” rather it is an outcome of the company’s strategy and the competitiveness of the project in BP’s portfolio.

She added that as partners in the North West Shelf and Browse ventures, BP expects to continue considering future opportunities to invest and grow its business in Australia.

The company has already notified the federal and state governments of its decision regarding the GAB project, as well as its joint venture partner, Statoil of Norway.

BP won the exploration licenses for four blocks in the Ceduna area of the GAB in January 2011, with Statoil acquiring a 30 percent stake in 2013.

BP noted that its decision to stop the exploration drilling program in the GAB does not affect its contract with Diamond Offshore Drilling for the provision of the semisubmersible rig “Ocean GreatWhite” built by Hyundai Heavy Industries.

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