Australia’s offshore regulator has requested more information about BP’s plans to begin drilling at the Great Australian Bight.

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) said Wednesday it has requested more information from BP Developments Australia Pty Ltd about their environment plan for drilling the Stromlo-1 and Whinham-1 exploration wells.

The agency said the requested information is expected to be provided by October 28.

Once NOPSEMA receives the information it will recommence the assessment.

BP can request an extension of the timeframe if required.

The agency did not provide details about why it is requesting further information but called the request a “normal part” of its environment plan assessment process.

“If a titleholder is able to demonstrate through their environment plan that they meet the criteria for acceptance then NOPSEMA must accept the plan. However, following a reasonable opportunity to modify and resubmit their environment plan, if a titleholder is unable to meet the criteria for acceptance NOPSEMA must refuse to accept the plan,” NOPSEMA said.

According to the Guardian, NOPSEMA rejected two previous environmental plans submitted by BP for its Great Australian Bight drilling plans.

A BP spokesperson told the paper that the request for more information is not a rejection or an acceptance.

The spokesperson added that the request is meant “to clarify aspects” of the company’s plan and provide additional information.

Drilling was scheduled to start in the first half of 2016.

BP has not disclosed when it expects to begin drilling work at the site.

According to the company’s website, BP is proposing to explore for oil and gas by drilling four wells in permit areas in the Great Australian Bight off the South Australian coast.

The drilling plan aims to determine if commercial quantities of hydrocarbon resources exist within the permit areas.

The wells will be drilled using a newly-built mobile offshore drilling rig, called Ocean GreatWhite, that has been specially designed for use in deep water areas.

Water depths at the proposed drilling area ranges from about 3,280 feet to 8,202 feet.

At its closest point, the proposed drilling area is about 248 miles west of Port Lincoln and 186 miles south-west of Ceduna.


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