UK energy firm BP is scrapping plans to undertake deep-water exploration drilling program in the Great Australian Bight (GAB), offshore South Australia.

The decision to abandon the oil-exploration wells drilling follows completion of BP’s upstream strategy, which determined that the project will not be able to compete in the foreseeable future for capital investment with other upstream opportunities.

The BP’s upstream strategy, which was completed earlier this year, included focus on exploration on opportunities which would create value in the near to medium term.

In 2011, BP was awarded exploration licenses for four blocks in the Ceduna area in the GAB.

After two years the awards, Norway's Statoil acquired 30% stake in the exploration licenses while BP remained as operator with 70% interest.

BP said that the in current external environment, it will consider only frontier exploration opportunities, which are competitive and comply with its strategic goals.

BP Australia exploration and production managing director Claire Fitzpatrick said: “After extensive and careful consideration, this has proven not to be the case for our project to explore in the Bight.

“This decision isn’t a result of a change in our view of the prospectivity of the region, nor of the ongoing regulatory process run by the independent regulator Nopsema.

“It is an outcome of our strategy and the relative competitiveness of this project in our portfolio.”

The cost of the GAB exploration project was not disclosed.

Fitzpatrick added: “BP is a long-term, significant investor in Australia, most visibly through our retail network and refinery and also as partners in the North West Shelf and Browse ventures.”