Chevron cancels plans to drill for oil on South Australian coast

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-13 10:45:07|Editor: Zhou Xin
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CANBERRA, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- Global energy giant Chevron has abandoned its plans to drill for oil in the iconic Great Australian Bight.

Chevron joined Australia's BP in ditching plans for the Bight on South Australia's west coast, saying that while the area had potential, global oil prices were too low to justify the 310 million-U.S.-dollar project.

"While the Great Australian Bight is one of Australia's most prospective frontier hydrocarbon regions, in the current low oil price environment it was not able to compete for capital in Chevron's global portfolio," Nigel Hearne, managing director of Chevron Australia, said in a statement issued on Thursday night.

Hearne stressed that the decision was based solely on commercial reasons rather than environmental concerns or government policy.

The decision has been slammed by the South Australian Government with Tom Koutsantonis, the state's Treasurer, accusing the company of "wasting everyone's time."

"Chevron's decision is extremely disappointing. What they have announced today is that they have spent the last five years wasting everybody's time," Koutsantonis told Australian media.

"This has nothing to do with the prospectivity of The Bight and everything to do with internal competition for finance within Chevron."

"The Bight basin remains a prospective oil frontier for companies with the vision to explore this untapped region."

It is the second time that Chevron has abandoned a potentially lucrative South Australian venture, having cancelled plans to explore for shale gas and oil in the Cooper Basin in 2015.

Peter Owen, a member of the Wilderness Society, welcomed Chevron's announcement and urged other companies considering exploring the Bight to look elsewhere.

"I don't think the Great Australian Bight is an appropriate place to be trying to turn into an oil field," Owen said.

"It's very deep water, it's very rough water, it's extremely remote, it's also one of the most significant whale nurseries on the planet."