Arctic Oil Drilling Is Off So Explorers Head Towards The Antarctic

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Drilling for oil in arctic waters off Alaska has been been banned by the U.S. Government but in the chilly waters off southern Australia, where the next stop is the Antarctic, a busy oil exploration program which involves a number of U.S. companies is about to start.

Rated as one of the world’s most under-explored geological regions with the potential for giant petroleum accumulations the Great Australian Bight is also one of the least hospitable when winter storms roar through on their way from Africa to South America without a big land mass to slow them.

Environmentalists, just as they opposed drilling in the Arctic and finally won U.S. Government backing earlier this week, are preparing for a battle in southern waters adjoining the Sub-Antarctic region.

BP First Cab Off the Oil Rank

Top of the protest list is a company with a target painted on its logo, BP  the former British Petroleum, which is still paying for the Macondo explosion and oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico which killed 11 workers and spewed an estimated 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf over an 87 day period in 2010.

BP is scheduled to be the first company to drill off the coast of the State of South Australia in the current round work with its Stromlo No.1 well due to be spudded late next year.

The U.S. companies, Chevron  and Murphy Oil  are expected to follow with their own wells, along with Norway’s Statoil and two Australian companies, Santos and Bight Petroleum.

Past oil exploration in the waters of southern Australia has yielded mixed results though it is home to one of the country’s biggest oil and gas projects, the Bass Strait joint venture of Exxon Mobil and BHP Billiton which is located well to the east off the coast of another State, Victoria.

source: Tim Treadgold

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