Documents Shed Light on BP’s Failures in the Great Australian Bight

Source: Desmog UK


By Karl Mathiesen, Climate Home News

BP’s plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight were controversial from the outset. The regulator twice rejected its environmental safety plan.

For the first time, Climate Home News can reveal why. Government documents have been released under freedom of information laws, nearly two years after they were requested. BP had tried to suppress the information.

A major oil spill in the sensitive seascape would pollute up to 750km of beaches and shoreline, according to BP’s own modelling, and the company thought drilling may disrupt migration of the endangered southern right whale.

Two letters from the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (Nopsema) to BP in 2015 and 2016 show BP had failed to address the regulator’s concerns about managing these risks. The details suggest it will be costly for any oil company to drill the area in an environmentally responsible way.