NOPSEMA receives second submission for exploration drilling in the Great Australian Bight

Media release - Published 19 August, 2016

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), has received a second environment plan submission from BP Developments Australia Pty Ltd (BP) proposing drilling of two exploration wells in the Great Australian Bight.

BP has advised NOPSEMA that the wells proposed in the second submission are two of the four wells that were originally proposed in the first Great Australian Bight Exploration Drilling Program environment plan.

BP has notified NOPSEMA that they will remove these two wells from the scope of the first environment plan prior to resubmission of that plan. NOPSEMA has granted a request from BP for an extension to the timeframe for resubmission of the first environment plan to 31 December 2016.

The regulations administered by NOPSEMA allow a titleholder to take this approach to the submission of environment plans. Similar approaches have been taken by titleholders on occasions in the past.

The law requires all titleholders to thoroughly identify and evaluate the environmental impacts and risks that may arise from their activities and clearly demonstrate to NOPSEMA how those impacts and risks will be managed.

As with every assessment undertaken by NOPSEMA, the environment plan submission will be assessed by a dedicated environmental assessment team based on its technical and scientific merits.

An important part of NOPSEMA’s environmental assessment process is ensuring that titleholders have consulted appropriately and considered and addressed stakeholder concerns relevant to their activity.

Petroleum activities will not be permitted to proceed in the Great Australian Bight until such time as compliance with all requirements of Commonwealth environmental law has been demonstrated.

For up-to-date details regarding the status of the assessment of BP’s second environment plan, entitled the Great Australian Bight Exploration Drilling Program (Stromlo-1 and Whinham-1), subscribe via the Activity Status and Summaries page under the Environment tab on NOPSEMA’s website at

Contact: Nicholas Page, Manager Communications and Stakeholder Relations
e:, t: 08 6188 8752, m: 0428 876 260

- ENDS -

NOPSEMA is an independent Commonwealth Statutory Agency regulating the health and safety, well integrity and environmental management of offshore petroleum industry activities in Commonwealth waters, and in coastal waters where state and territory functions have been conferred.

By law, offshore petroleum activities cannot commence before NOPSEMA has assessed and accepted detailed risk management plans documenting and demonstrating how an organisation will manage the risks to health and safety to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP) and the risk to the environment to ALARP and with acceptable environmental impacts.

NOPSEMA employs a robust environmental assessment process, as well as strict compliance monitoring and enforcement programs, to ensure offshore oil and gas activities comply with Commonwealth environmental law.

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