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Member Country Profile - Australia

Country: Australia
Organisation: National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA)
Regime Scope: NOPSEMA is Australia’s national regulator of offshore petroleum operations and greenhouse gas storage operations with respect to:
  • health and safety
  • well integrity
  • wnvironmental management.
Governance Arrangements: NOPSEMA is an independent regulatory authority established under statute. It is a Commonwealth (federal) government agency with a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who reports directly to the Commonwealth Minister for Industry and Science. An advisory board with functions to provide advice to the Minister and to the CEO is established under the legislation which also prescribes a formal independent review of NOPSEMA’s operations every five years.
Legislation Type: The Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act (2006) provides the legislative framework for all offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas activities in Australia’s Commonwealth waters. The Act is supported by associated regulations and directions for matters including safety, well integrity, diving, and environmental management.
Extent Of Government Approval: NOPSEMA regulates offshore oil and gas activities primarily by assessing, and accepting where appropriate, prescribed duty-holder management plans and subsequently by undertaking a range of compliance monitoring and enforcement functions. The prescribed management plans are essentially ‘permissioning’ documents and must be accepted by NOPSEMA prior to a duty-holder commencing an activity. The prescribed plans include:
  • safety cases
  • well operations management plans
  • diving safety management systems
  • environment plans.
Nature of Duties Imposed: General duties are imposed on operators of facilities, licence holders, persons in control of particular work, employers and others. Duties are performance based, with health and safety risks required to be reduced to a level that is as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP) and environmental impacts reduced to ALARP and acceptable levels. Regulations require that once the prescribed permissioning documents have been accepted by NOPSEMA, duty-holders must operate in accordance with the arrangements documented within the relevant safety case, well operations management plan or environment plan.
Physical objects In the regime: Approximately 32 platforms, 11 FPSO/FSOs, 12 MODUs, 17 vessels and 76 pipeline facilities.
Compliance Assurance Mechanisms: NOPSEMA:
  • assesses duty-holder management plans against prescribed acceptance criteria
  • conducts inspections of duty-holder compliance at facilities and regulated premises
  • investigates accidents, incidents and dangerous occurrences
  • undertakes compliance enforcement action utilizing a range of statutory enforcement options.
Transparency: Information is released on NOPSEMA’s website and regular publications including numerical inspection and incident data, aggregated health and safety statistics, safety case information, well integrity and environment plan guidance notes and information brochures. NOPSEMA is also bound by government accountability processes and participates in various public forums.
Financial Basis: NOPSEMA is the Statutory Agency responsible for the oversight of response actions to pollution events from offshore petroleum activities in areas of Commonwealth jurisdiction. Oil spill contingency plans are required to be submitted to NOPSEMA as part of the environment plan prior to commencement of an activity. NOPSEMA is not an oil spill combat agency.
Profile author: Stuart Smith
Chief Executive Officer
Profile Date: October 12, 2016



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