A PROPOSAL submitted by BP Global to conduct oil exploration in the Great Australian Bight off the coast of South Australia (SA) will be considered by a Senate committee.
The committee will examine the proposal, and consider any environmental and economic impacts on; marine reserves, whale nurseries, and the fishing and tourism industries.
This will be BP’s second proposal to explore the Bight. The first was rejected in November 2015 by the regulatory body the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority (NOPSEMA), for not having met the environmental safety requirements.
The second proposal will still need to be passed by NOPSEMA, however the Greens party has called for an inquiry to open up BP’s proposal to the wider community.
Robert Simms, SA senator for the Greens party, said, “BP's initial submission to drill for oil off the Great Australian Bight was turned down by the regulator NOPSEMA and it is high time this issue was put under the microscope.
“The Bight should not be put at risk for the sake of corporations with terrible environmental track records chasing a profit. We know BP don't have the capacity to handle disasters – we have seen this in the past with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that took 87 days to be contained.”
A BP spokesperson responded to the call for an inquiry and said the company welcomed scrutiny and would engage with the Senate on this matter.
In a statement to the Australian media, BP said, “We will look to explain why we believe the oil and gas industry can operate safely and responsibly in the Great Australian Bight.
“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 Bight.'
The committee is due to report its findings on 12 May.
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