Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt has confirmed that the Federal Government remains committed to keeping the Northern Endeavour facility and the surrounding marine environment safe and secure, and to finding a longer-term solution to the facility and associated oil fields.
The Northern Endeavour floating production storage and offtake (FPSO) vessel is permanently moored between the Laminaria and Corallina oil fields in Commonwealth waters in the Timor Sea.
In April 2020, Minister Pitt announced that Upstream Production Solutions (Upstream PS) would continue to operate the Northern Endeavour facility and associated subsea facilities and wells in ‘lighthouse mode’.
“The safety of offshore workers and protection of the marine environment remains the Government’s number one priority,” Minister Pitt said on Thursday.
“No petroleum production is occurring and critical maintenance necessary to maintain a safe working environment is being undertaken.”
The Government is also seeking advice on a range of options for a longer-term solution to the Northern Endeavour and associated fields.
Minister Pitt said Australian petroleum exploration and production company, Woodside Energy, will be providing expert advice on what will be required to decommission and remediate the facility and fields, if the Government proceeds with that option.
“As a previous owner of the Northern Endeavour, Woodside is well placed to provide timely, detailed advice,” he said.
The Federal Government has also welcomed the findings of the independent review into the administration and subsequent liquidation of the Northern Oil and Gas Australia (NOGA) group of companies.
On 20 September 2019, the NOGA group of companies went into voluntary administration and subsequently, on 7 February 2020, into liquidation.
One of the companies of the group, Timor Sea Oil & Gas Australia Pty Ltd (TSOGA), was the petroleum titleholder for the Laminaria and Corallina oil fields and owned the associated Northern Endeavour FPSO.
This is an unprecedented event in Australia’s offshore oil and gas industry. The government sought to understand how and why it arose to consider how best to minimise risks of a similar event occurring again.
Minister Pitt appointed Mr Steve Walker, a prominent expert with almost 40 years of offshore regulation and industry experience, to conduct the independent review in March 2020.
Mr Walker has now delivered his final report after consulting with a range of stakeholders.
Further information on Mr Walker’s findings and recommendations can be found here.