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bp Australia’s exploration focus today centres on the Carnarvon basin, offshore Western Australia. This prolific gas basin is home to some of the world’s major LNG developments, including the North West Shelf (NWS) joint venture (JV) in which bp has participated since its inception in the 1970s

The first priority of our exploration team in Perth is to work closely with the NWS JV operator (Woodside) and the partners to identify and drill for additional gas resources to supply the LNG processing facilities. Our second priority is to explore for large scale gas resources outside the NWS JV permits but within tie-back distance.

 When the existing NWS JV fields come off plateau, there will be capacity in the processing facilities for such resources. For this reason, bp has accessed two exploration permits 50km to the north of the NWS JV acreage; these are WA-525-P (BP 100 per cent and operator), and WA-409-P (BP 80 per cent and operator).


Ironbark: acreage WA-359-P

As part of a joint venture between bp (42.5%), Cue (21.5%), Beach (21%) and NZOG (15%), bp drilled an exploratory well in the Carnarvon Basin. This activity took place in Commonwealth waters and was regulated by the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act and the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Environment) Regulation 2012. In accordance with the legislation, an environment plan was submitted for public comment to the Commonwealth regulator National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA).


bp, as operator, was pleased to work with its joint venture partners on this single well campaign that it hoped would find more natural gas to help boost the declining reserves of the North West Shelf project.


Drilling activities took place from October to December 2020. On 29 December 2020, bp Australia confirmed that no significant hydrocarbons had been found at the Ironbark exploration well in Western Australia and that the well would be plugged and abandoned in line with pre-drilling planning.

Great Australian Bight

bp took the decision in late 2016 not to progress with its plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight, offshore South Australia. Subsequently, two of the four permits in which bp held title interest have been transferred to another operator, and two have been cancelled.


BP enters Good Standing Agreement over Exploration Permits EPP 37 and EPP38

BP Developments Australia Pty Ltd and the Joint Authority for the Commonwealth/South Australia offshore area have entered into a good standing agreement (GSA) in respect of bp’s unfulfilled minimum work program obligations in Exploration Permits EPP37 and EPP38.


bp will satisfy the GSA through expenditure on activity in Australia consistent with Joint Authority expectations. At least fifty per cent of the funds will be discharged on activity in South Australia.