Australia's offshore oil and gas authority, National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) has rejected BP's application to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight on the grounds that its “environment plan does not yet meet the criteria for acceptance under the environment regulations”.
NOPSEMA had earlier said BP needs a comprehensive risk assessment and a comprehensive oil pollution emergency plan.
BP was responsible for the world's biggest oil spill, the Deepwater Horizon tragedy in 2010, when 800 million litres of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days.
The Wilderness Society's South Australia director Peter Owen said: “BP wants to drill for oil in the pristine waters of the Great Australian Bight and submitted an inadequate application. BP doesn't appear to be taking the potential risks drilling in our pristine oceans presents seriously at all.
“BP should take this opportunity to drop its plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight especially after it released a statement last month saying it supported action on climate change.
“We should not be opening up new oil precincts in pristine waters when we are hurtling towards catastrophic climate change. The Great Australian Bight is a haven for whales, boasting the world's most significant southern right whale nursery as well as many humpback, sperm, blue and beak whales. It's also Australia's most important sea lion nursery.
“An oil spill in the Bight from a deep-sea well blowout would be devastating for fisheries, tourism and marine life, according to independent oil spill modelling released last month. The model shows that an oil spill could result in the closure of fisheries in the Bight, Bass Strait and even the Tasman Sea. Even a low-flow oil spill could impact all of southern Australia's coast, from Western Australia right across to Victoria through Bass Strait and around Tasmania.”