Karoon to give up its exploration permit in Great Australian Bight

Australia-based Karoon Gas has decided to ditch its exploration permit located in the Great Australian Bight area offshore Australia thus joining oil majors Chevron and BP who had previously abandoned their Bight permits. 

The Great Australian Bight. Source: Flickr/Author: Sascha Grant – under the CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

During the company’s general meeting on Friday, Karoon Chairman Bruce Phillips said the company had “listened to our broader stakeholder groups and have initiated actions to relinquish EPP46 in the Great Australian Bight.”

Karoon was awarded the exploration permit EPP46 in October 2016. The permit covers 17,793 square kilometers of Australia’s most active and prospective frontier oil exploration province, the Ceduna Sub‐Basin, in the Great Australian Bight (GAB), offshore South Australia.

Karoon’s initial three‐year firm commitment consisted of acquiring an extensive 2D seismic survey over the permit area, a targeted 3D seismic survey, and geotechnical studies.

At the time of the license award, Karoon said it would be monitoring the progress of then-current committed drilling programs and make an assessment of the environmental risks following those campaigns prior to committing to any exploration drilling.

Phillips also said that Karoon had relinquished WA-314-P in Australia after failing to attract a suitable farminee.


Oil majors back out 


Oil companies’ attempts to drill in the Great Australian Bight area have been under scrutiny in the last couple of years. Environmental groups like Greenpeace and political party Australian Greens have hampered oil companies’ plans for the Bight, claiming that drilling in the area containing a marine park would threaten marine life, fisheries, and eco-tourism operators.

Back in October 2016, BP gave up on its drilling program in the Bight, citing a new upstream strategy with a focus on opportunities likely to create value in the near to medium term as the reason behind its abandonment.

A year later, in October 2017, Chevron also ditched its Great Australian Bight exploration program due to its inability “to compete in the current low oil price environment.” Chevron denied that its decision had anything to do with the government policy, regulatory, community or environmental concerns, pointing out that it was a commercial decision.

In more recent news, Norwegian giant Equinor has been working to obtain approval for its environment plan for the planned Stromlo well in the Great Australian Bight, which was submitted in April 2019.

Equinor’s planned well is located in the Ceduna sub-basin, off southern Australia. The well is located approximately 400 km southwest of Ceduna and 476 km west of Port Lincoln and in a water depth of approximately 2240 meters.

Australian regulator NOPSEMA earlier in November requested from Equinor to modify and resubmit its GAB plan. Equinor got a deadline of 21 days to provide NOPSEMA with further information about matters relating to consultation, source control, oil spill risk and matters protected under Part 3 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

According to Equinor’s plan, the petroleum activity will occur anytime between October and May during the three years validity period from 2020 to 2022.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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