• BP has shown it has learnt nothing from Gulf of Mexico disaster
  • Shell proved oil accidents aren’t uncommon with its own Gulf of Mexico spill last week
  • Great Australian Bight’s pristine waters should be off limits to oil and gas industry

British oil giant BP should drop its plans for deepwater oil exploration drilling in the Great Australian Bight after Australia’s offshore oil and gas authority, NOPSEMA, sent back its application for a second time.

“NOPSEMA has again sent back BP’s application for deepwater oil exploration driliing in the Great Australian Bight,” said Wilderness Society National Director Lyndon Schneiders.

“BP should just give up and ditch its plans for the Bight before it wastes any more of its shareholders money on an investment that the world can’t use and will become a stranded asset.

BP's Deepwater Horizon platform disaster in Gulf of Mexico. Photo: WikipediaBP's Deepwater Horizon platform disaster in Gulf of Mexico. Photo: WikipediaWilderness Society South Australia Director Peter Owen said: “BP was responsible for the world’s biggest oil spill accident, the Deepwater Horizon tragedy in 2010, when 800 million litres of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. Just last week Shell proved that oil accidents aren’t uncommon when it spilled more than 330,000 litres of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

“One would expect BP to go to great lengths to show the regulator it had learnt from the Gulf of Mexico disaster and submit an application that would far exceed the required standards. Instead it again submitted a substandard application in the hope it will be approved.

“BP lodged its latest Environment Plan despite a major $20 million GAB Research Project still being underway. We know the Bight is a pristine marine environment with at least 36 species of whales and dolphins, but there is still much we don’t know. Even BP’s summary of its initial Environmental Plan notes that half of the invertebrates found in the Bight sediment in the GAB Research Project are new to science.

“It is time for BP to pull up stumps and write off this project as a bad idea. It’s completely inappropriate to turn the Great Australian Bight into an oil field.”

Sea Shepherd Australia Managing Director Jeff Hansen said: “The whales of the Great Australian Bight can breathe a slight sigh of relief today as NOPSEMA has sent back BP’s second attempt at its environment plan. Six years on, BP has still not cleaned up its catastrophic spill in the Gulf of Mexico, with mothers still giving birth to stillborn dolphin calves.

“If BP is allowed to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight, it’s not a question of if there will be an oil spill but when, and the Great Australian Bight is not worth the risk. With the recent Paris climate summit, it’s time that BP got the message and left the Great Australian Bight alone for our children’s sake.”

Sea Shepherd Australia, along with Wilderness Society is part of the Great Australian Bight Alliance, #FIGHTFORTHEBIGHT

Oiled Pelican during Deep Water Horizon disaster. Photo: WikipediaOiled Pelican during Deep Water Horizon disaster. Photo: Wikipedia

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