BP's Bight plans in Senate scan
A Senate committee is examining BP’s plans to search for oil in the Great Australian Bight.
The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority (NOPSEMA) rejected BP's first application to drill in waters off the coast of South Australia late last year.
The bid was knocked back because it failed to meet all of its environmental requirements.
The Senate committee will pick apart BP's latest plans to find any potential impacts, including on marine reserves, whales, tourism and the fishing industry.
“We will look to explain why we believe the oil and gas industry can operate safely and responsibly in the Great Australian Bight,” BP said in a statement.
“The industry as a whole makes a very important contribution to Australia and provides many social and economic benefits.
“BP is continuing to work on its environment plan for the Great Australian Bight.”
Wilderness Society SA spokesperson Peter Owen said he would be surprised if there was nothing harmful in BP’s plans.
“I'd be very surprised if that be the case,” Mr Owen said.
“What we're talking about here is the Great Australian Bight whale nursery, is a pristine marine environment, and not at all an appropriate place to be looking to industrialise and try and turn into an oil field.
“We need to be phasing out fossil fuels, not further expanding the industry.”
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) has welcomed the inquiry.
“I think with proper regulatory oversight there's no reason that a safe and sustainable offshore petroleum industry shouldn't be possible in South Australia as it has been in Victoria and Western Australia for several decades,” APPEA spokesperson Matthew Doman said.
The committee’s findings are due on May 12.