BP once proposed that an oil spill in the Great Australian Bight would provide a “welcomed boost” to local economies.

BP made the claim in a 2016 report to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), which has been obtained by London-based website Climate Home News.

The documents contained an editing suggestion that called for sthe statement to be removed:

“Examples include stating that impacts of spill response strategies may be offset by the use of vessels from the local fishing fleet … and stating that ‘in most instances, the increased activity associated with clean-up operations will be a welcome boost to [local] economies’.”

A spokesperson for BP said the BP document “does not reflect BP's views”.

“This correspondence relates to a draft document that was never finalised,” the spokesperson said.

“We acknowledge that a number of aspects should have been better thought through and articulated, even in the draft stage.

“They do not reflect the final views of BP or of the regulator.”

BP has since scrapped its plans to drill in the Bight, handing over its leases to Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil.

Statoil plans to drill an exploratory well in October 2019.

Statoil says it is still working on its environmental plan for NOPSEMA.

“The plan will be subject to a consultation and engagement process,” Statoil's Australian manager Jacques-Etienne Michel said.

“We will only undertake drilling activity if we can do it safely and with the approval of the regulator.”