Streamlining Offshore Petroleum Environmental Approvals

Prior to 28 February 2014, petroleum and greenhouse gas activities in Commonwealth waters that were likely to impact on matters of national environmental significance - as defined in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) - were subject to regulation under both the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGS Act) and the EPBC Act. This resulted in unnecessary duplication of environmental approval processes.

Several independent reviews recommended streamlining the regulatory requirements of the EPBC Act and the OPGGS Act. These include:

Strategic Assessment Agreement

In response to this on 24 October 2013, the Minister for Industry, the Minister for the Environment and the CEO of the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) agreed to develop and implement a 'one stop shop' for offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas environmental assessment in Commonwealth waters. A key feature of the streamlining project was to conduct a strategic assessment, in accordance with Part 10 the EPBC Act, of NOPSEMA’s environmental management authorisation processes.

Consultation Period

The Program, which describes the OPGGS Act Environmental management authorisation process for petroleum activities and draft Strategic Assessment Report, demonstrates how implementation of the Program ensures appropriate consideration and management of potential impacts on matters protected under Part 3 of the EPBC Act, were released for public consultation from 22 November until 20 December 2013.

A summary of the public comments submitted and the response to submissions relating to the strategic assessment are contained in the supplementary report, which was submitted o the Minister for the Environment, along with the final Program and Strategic Assessment Reports in January 2014.

Endorsement and approval

The Minister for the Environment has endorsed the Program under the EPBC Act.

The Minister for the Environment has also approved a class of actions arising from a strategic assessment of NOPSEMA’s environmental authorisation process under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGS Act) and OPGGS (Environment) Regulations.

From 28 February 2014, when the amended OPGGS (Environment) Regulations commence, NOPSEMA will be the sole regulator of environmental approvals for offshore petroleum activities in Commonwealth waters, with the exception of exclusions listed in the Approval Notice.

Review of the Environment Regulations 2009

  • The review of the Environment Regulations commenced in 2012, with public consultation on an Issues Paper from December 2012 to February 2013.
  • This streamlining project provided a timely and transparent process for finalising the review of the Environment Regulations.
  • The review sought to improve and clarify the regulation of environmental management of offshore petroleum activities.
  • See Review of Environment Regulations 2009 for more information.

Implementation

Transitional guidance is available on NOPSEMA’s website.

NOPSEMA’s Environment Division can be contact directly on 08 6188 8700.

Stakeholders who have queries about the status of existing or EPBC approvals can contact the Department of the Environment on 1800 803 772.

The following factsheets have been developed by the Taskforce to assist stakeholders during the implementation phase.

Archived information

See archived information of the strategic assessment process for more information on the streamlining project.

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