BP first applied to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) in 2015 to drill four exploration wells.
The company resubmitted the plan earlier this year and will have to do so again by July 15, NOPSEMA says.
“NOPSEMA will typically provide two opportunities to modify and resubmit but is not restricted to providing only two,” it said in a statement.
“If a titleholder has been given a reasonable opportunity to modify their plan and NOPSEMA determines that it still doesn’t meet the regulatory requirements for acceptance, then NOPSEMA will refuse to accept the plan.”
BP said in a statement the company was still working towards its slated project start date in late 2016.
“We have allowed sufficient time in our program schedule for this regulatory process and continue to work toward commencing exploration drilling in late 2016 subject to the acceptance of our environment plan,” it said.
The Wilderness Society, which has long campaigned against drilling in the bight, said BP “should just give up before it wastes any more of its shareholders’ money”.
“It is time for BP to pull up stumps and write off this project as a bad idea,” said the group’s South Australia director, Peter Owen.
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