The Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPPGS Act) section 57 requires petroleum companies to remove all equipment or property when it will no longer be used in offshore operations, and if an alternative is proposed, to demonstrate how equal or better safety and environmental outcomes will be achieved.
In October 2019, the former federal Minister for Resources and Northern Australia issued a statement of expectations which required that NOPSEMA would heighten its focus on industry compliance with this obligation.
The statement of expectations requires NOPSEMA, through its regulatory processes, to ensure that titleholders maintain property and to remove it when it is no longer used; and only accept alternative arrangements where justification is appropriate and with regard to the Australian Government Offshore Petroleum Decommissioning Guideline.
In response to the Minister’s policy direction, NOPSEMA released a statement of intent in November 2019 announcing an increased focus on its efforts in challenging the robustness of how petroleum companies plan to comply with the requirement, with timeliness a particular focus.
To give effect to the statement of expectations and NOPSEMA’s statement of intent, NOPSEMA will establish a policy to communicate how it will focus on titleholders’ compliance through monitoring and enforcement activities.
To assist in clarifying how NOPSEMA would intend to advise, promote, monitor, and enforce compliance with the requirement, NOPSEMA has released a draft policy Section 572 Maintenance and removal of property for comment.
NOPSEMA is seeking feedback on this draft policy prior to final publication and is also seeking input from stakeholders to develop further detailed guidance on how titleholders can demonstrate compliance with section 572 in the content of permissioning documents.
Interested stakeholders are strongly encouraged to review the policy and provide feedback by 9 June 2020 to be considered in its finalisation and subsequent use.