Oil and Gas News

Australia reworks offshore decommissioning process

The Australian Government has approved a range of measures aimed at enhancing and strengthening Australia offshore oil and gas decommissioning framework.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the measures will ensure the offshore decommissioning framework is clear and fit for purpose.

“Australia’s offshore oil and gas industry has supported Australia’s energy security and economic activity for over 50 years and it will continue to be an important economic and energy security driver for the foreseeable future,” Pitt said.

“The enhanced framework will make certain that there is effective regulatory oversight and robust financial and accountability safety nets for offshore oil and gas decommissioning requirements.”

The measures were developed as part of consultation on the offshore oil and gas decommissioning review in December 2020 and January 2021.

The key elements of the enhanced framework include: strengthening existing trailing liability provisions to enable government to call back a former titleholder in a broader range of circumstances; increased oversight of changes in company control; and increased requirements for financial assurance.

Pitt also highlighted that the framework will have more modernised field development place and enhanced decommissioning planning, and improved transparency and public engagement.

“A mix of legislation and regulation changes will support the measures, starting with the release of an Exposure Draft of a Bill to improve Australia’s offshore oil and gas decommissioning regime. The Bill is open for comment until Friday 23 April 2021,” he said.

APPEA chief executive Andrew McConville said the industry has worked constructively with the Government to develop an appropriate, forward-looking decommissioning framework and will look at what is proposed closely.

“The offshore oil and gas industry has been a key driver of Australia’s economy and energy security for decades and has plenty of life left in it,” McConville said.

“We need to get the decommissioning framework right for the industry and the thousands of jobs it supports as well as protect the environment and will be studying closely the detail of the draft bill.”

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