Australian non-profit land conservation organisation the Wilderness Society has urged Australia’s offshore oil and gas authority Nopsema to refuse BP's application to drill in the Great Australian Bight.
BP released new modelling that showed how a potential spill from an uncontained blowout from the company’s proposed Stromlo-1 well would impact the southern coast of the Great Australian Bight.
Furthermore, the entire country’s coast could be impacted, from Western Australia across to Tasmania and New South Wales (NSW).
BP’s spill modelling showed that the NSW coast has a 41% chance of getting hit by a spill, while Apollo Bay and Wilsons Promontory in Victoria would have a 91% chance of being impacted.
After modelling a 149-day spill, BP said that even if it could cap the well in 35 days, it would still be expected to have a high chance of impacting Adelaide, Port Lincoln and Kangaroo Island.
Stromlo-1 well is at depths of 2,250m, 750m deeper than the Deepwater Horizon’s Macondo well that spilled 800 million litres of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 for 87 days.
Wilderness Society South Australian Director Peter Owen said: “We now know why BP has been so reluctant to reveal its oil spill modelling, which we have been asking to see for years.
“The impact would be truly devastating for marine life, birds, coastlines, fisheries, coastal communities and possibly anywhere along the southern Australian coast. The risks are too great.
“The modelling shows a 68%-100% chance of a spill damaging the Kangaroo Island Pool, canyons, adjacent shelf break, and the Eyre Peninsula upwelling systems.”
Nopsema said that it needs additional time to assess BP Developments Australia’s environment plan proposing the drilling of the Stromlo-1 and Whinham-1 exploration wells in the Great Australian Bight.
BP’s Deepwater Horizon incident resulted in the death of 11 rig workers and spilled 800 million litres of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.