Maintaining maritime boundaries
Australia has sovereign rights over a vast area of ocean, along with the oil and gas resources found in that area. See Australia’s marine jurisdiction and maps on the Geoscience Australia website.
Australia has several agreements covering maritime areas bordering international jurisdictions. These may affect oil and gas activities in these areas. Read more on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) website:
Indonesian traditional fishers are also active within Australian waters. Read about the Indonesia–Australia Fisheries Cooperation on the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website.
Protecting the environment
Under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Environment) Regulations 2009, all oil and gas activities must have an environment plan assessed and accepted by NOPSEMA before they can take place. Oil and gas companies must demonstrate to NOPSEMA how they’ll manage their activities’ environmental impacts and risks to as low as reasonably practicable and an acceptable level.
Read more information including a guideline for environment plan decision making on NOPSEMA’s website.
See environment plans open for comment, under assessment or accepted on NOPSEMA’s website.
State environment plans
Before 2012, assessing environment plans for offshore oil and gas activities was the responsibility of the states and territories. Find state environment plan summaries for 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2011.
Streamlined environmental approvals
A streamlined environmental approvals process under Part 10 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 has been in place for offshore oil and gas activities since 2014. Under this process NOPSEMA is the sole assessor for environmental approvals for these activities.
Read about streamlined environmental approvals.
Ensuring health and safety
We regulate Australia’s offshore oil and gas health and safety regime under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Safety) Regulations 2009. These aim to:
- protect the health, safety and welfare of workers
- prevent major accidents from happening.
Oil and gas companies must develop a safety case which identifies hazards and risks, and describes how the risks will be managed. The safety case must also include arrangements for preparing for and responding to emergencies. It must be assessed and accepted by NOPSEMA before an activity can take place.
Read about safety cases and health and safety requirements on the NOPSEMA website.