Offshore Petroleum Legislation and Regulatory Arrangements

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-
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1

DISCLAIMER:

This fact sheet has b
een developed as a guide only.
It does not replace or amend information provided in the Offshore Petroleum Legislation, Regulations and
Guidelines available at:
www.ret.gov.au/offshoreresourceslegislation

and
www.nopta.gov.au/legislation
. In the event that there is a discrepancy between this fact sh
eet and the
legislation, t
he legislation has precedence.
Explorers should not rely solely on this information whe
n making commercial decisions.
Image courtesy of Woodside Energy Ltd.


OFFSHORE PETROLEUM L
EGISLATION AND
REGULATORY ARRANGEME
NTS


In
Australia
,

governments neither undertake petroleum
projects nor engage in commercial petroleum exploration
or development. Governments seek to establish the
macroeconomic climate; provide a sound regulatory
framework for petro
leum related activities; and
reduce
com
mercial risk through collection and dissemination of
pre
-
competitive geoscientific data.

Offshore petroleum activities beyond designated state and
territory coastal waters are

governed by the
Offshore
Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006

(Cwlth)
(
the OPGGS Act) and associated regulations. The
legislation provides for the orderly exploration for, and
recovery of, offshore petroleum resources and sets out a
basic framework of rights, entitlements and responsibilities
of governments and

industry.

The

key matters covered in the legislation are:



issue of invitations to apply for exploration permits;



granting of permits to successful applicants and
determination of conditions of the title;



declaring locations where petroleum has been
discovered;



granting

of retention leases over discoveries that are
not currently commercial but are expected to become
commercial within 15 years;



granting of production and pipeline licences;



granting of infrastructure licences for various
processing activities;



renewal of t
itles (where appropriate);



approval of applications for the registration of legal
transactions, including farm
-
ins and transfers of titles;



granting of special prospecting

authorities, access authorities, and consents for
scientific investigations; and



variations of title conditions, exemption from title
commitments, and cancellation of titles for non
-
compliance with the conditions of the title.

The OPGGS Act is supplemented by a set of regulations
and guidelines covering the activities of the petroleum
industry, including the:



Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage
(Safety) Regulations 2009
;



Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage
(Environment) Regulations 2009
; and



Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage
(Resource Management and Admi
nistration)
Regulations

2011
.

The regulatory regime for offshore petroleum exploration
in Commonwealth waters is jointly administer
ed by the
Commonwealth and the s
tate/Northern Territory
Governments through a Joint Authority arrangement. The
National Of
fshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA)
and the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and
Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA)
perform regulatory functions related to offshore petroleum
activities under the jurisdiction of a Joint Authority.

N
OPTA and NOPSEMA
operate on a full cost recovery
basis
;
cost recovery is accomplished through a system of
fees and levies on
title holders/
duty holders.

AUSTRALIA 2013

Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release

AUSTRALIA 2013

Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release


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-
acreage.gov.au

2

AUSTRALIA 2013

Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release


Joint Authority

The Joint Authority for each State (except Tasmania) and
the Northern Territory compris
es the responsible
Commonwealth Minister and the relevant State or
Northern Territory Minister.


The Joint Authority for the
Eastern Greater Sunrise offshore area, the offshore area
of each external territory (e.g. the Territory of Ashmore
and Cartier Isla
nds) and for the Tasmanian offshore area,
is the responsible Commonwealth Minister only. The Joint
Authority may delegate any or all of its functions and
powers to the respective Commonwealth and
state/Northern Territory Resources Department.

The Joint

Authorities make the major policy decisions
under the OPGGS Act concerning the granting of
petroleum titles, the imposition of title conditions and the
cancelling of titles, as well as core decisions about
resource management and resource security. Other

key
functions and powers of the Joint Authority include the
release of offshore petroleum exploration areas and
assessment of bids for these areas.

National Offshore Petroleum Titles
Administrator

NOPTA is responsible for the day
-
to
-
day administration of
petroleum titles, including exploration permits, in all
offshore areas.
NOPTA

acts as a single point of contact
for all matters pertaining to offshore titles administration in
Australian waters.

Key

functions include:



providing information, assessments, analysis, reports
and advice to members of the Offshore Petroleum
Joint Authorities;



managing the collection, administration and release of
data;



facilitating life of title administration, including Joint
Authority con
sideration of changes to permit
conditions, and approval and registration of transfers
and dealings associated with offshore petroleum
permits; and



maintaining the registers of petroleum and
greenhouse gas storage titles in accordance with the
legislation.

For more information, see the NOPTA website at
www.nopta.gov.au
.

For administrative guidelines outlining titles administration
matters, visit:
http
://www.nopta.gov.au/legislation/guidelines.html

National Offshore Petroleum Safety and
Environmental Management Authority

NOPSEMA is the regulator of occupational health and
safety; integrity of facilities, wells and well related
equipment; environmental m
anagement; and day
-
to
-
day
petroleum operations in Commonwealth offshore areas.

For more information, see the NOPSEMA website at

www.nopsema.gov.au
.

Further Information


An electronic compendium of all current
legislation,
regulations and guidelines governing the offshore
petroleum industry can be found at:
www.ret.gov.au/offshoreresourceslegislation
.

Industry may also subscribe to receive regul
ar updates on
regulatory developments, and general information on the
regulation

of the

Australian petroleum industry

through the
free occasional newsletter,
Australian Petroleum News
, by
emailing:
pe
troleum.exploration@ret.gov.au
.