MELBOURNE Oct 11 BP Plc has abandoned
plans to drill for oil and gas off the south coast of Australia,
saying it can get better value for its exploration spending
elsewhere, although it still sees strong potential in the Great
The decision comes as a win for environmental groups, like
Greenpeace, which have heavily opposed drilling off the coast of
South Australia, saying it would damage a marine sanctuary,
including whale breeding grounds.
BP said the Bight project, where it has been working with
Norway's Statoil, would not be able to compete for
capital investment with other opportunities in its global
portfolio in the foreseeable future.
"This decision isn't a result of a change in our view of the
prospectivity of the region, nor of the ongoing regulatory
process," BP's head of exploration and production in Australia,
Claire Fitzpatrick, said in a statement.
"It is an outcome of our strategy and the relative
competitiveness of this project in our portfolio."
BP said Statoil, a 30 percent partner in the exploration
licenses for four blocks in the Great Australian Bight, had
accepted its decision.
Others with exploration permits in the region include
Chevron Corp, and Murphy Oil working with Santos
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration
Association said earlier this year the Great Australian Bight
could be an imporant new oil province and key source of new
jobs, with the industry potentially looking to spend more than
A$1 billion ($760 million) on exploration alone off South
($1 = 1.3187 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Richard Pullin)