BP has decided to abandon drilling plans in the Great Australian Bight offshore southern Australia, an area in which prospective drilling has long been contested by environmentalists. The decision “is an outcome of our strategy and the relative competitiveness of this project in our portfolio,” said Claire Fitzpatrick, managing director for Australian exploration and production at BP. The regulatory process was not a factor in the decision, and the company’s view of the region’s potential has not changed, she said. Wood Mackenzie has reported that the Bight could hold 1.9 billion BOE of resources, and the spending level of BP’s drilling program there had been estimated at AUD 600 million. BP said that Statoil, its minority partner in four Bight exploration licenses, has accepted the decision.