BP spill model released for Great Australian Bight

OIL spill modelling released by BP has shown a spill from one of its wells in the Great Australian Bight could reach Port Lincoln and as far as Yorke Peninsula.

BP released its report “Fate and effects oil spill modelling assumptions, parameters and results” last week, detailing modelling for possible spills and response strategies.

The modelling took into account trajectories that could occur from a worst credible discharge from either of its two planned wells.

Results showed the highest maximum volume of crude oil washing ashore would occur during a spill in winter with the greatest average volume resulting from a spill in transitional months.

For summer spills the shorelines between Elliston and Coffin Bay, as well as Kangaroo Island had the greatest probability of contact while in transitional months there was 100 per cent probability of low to moderate contact for areas including Streaky Bay, Port Lincoln and Yorke Peninsula.

The report said modelling results assumed a worst credible discharge had taken place, there were no attempts to control, contain or recover an oil spill and the stochastic modelling used did not generate a picture of a spill.

A BP spokesperson said the company was meeting with interested stakeholders on the West Coast this week as it continued the community consultation it has done across the past 20 months.

“We have consulted with communities, industry, academic and local government stakeholders,” they said.

“We have always said that we will continue to engage our stakeholders over the coming weeks and months, prior to the acceptance of our Environment Plan and the ongoing basis during operations.”

Despite this the Wilderness Society called for the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) to stop BP’s operations in the Bight.

NOPSEMA announced this week it would take more time to assess BP’s latest environmental plan submission and deliver its assessment decision by September 29.

Wilderness Society national director Lyndon Schneiders said the risks posed by this project to the environment and coastal communities in southern Australia was too great.

“NOPSEMA should be addressing the failure of bolts on subsea oil drilling safety equipment that could affect rigs all around the country,” he said.

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