Decommissioning the Northern Endeavour

The Australian Government is decommissioning the Northern Endeavour facility and remediating the Laminaria-Corallina oil fields.

The Northern Endeavour is a 274m long floating production, storage and offtake (FPSO) facility. It is permanently moored between the Laminaria and Corallina oil fields, about 550 km northwest of Darwin in the Timor Sea.

There are 9 oil wells on the sea floor associated with these oil fields.

An illustration of the Northern Endeavour and oilfields

This diagram shows the Northern Endeavour moored between the Corallina and Laminaria oil fields.

Why we’re decommissioning the Northern Endeavour

The Australian Government determined that decommissioning is the most effective way to:

  • secure the vessel and ensure worker safety
  • protect the environment from future potential risks.

Our department is decommissioning the Northern Endeavour following the liquidation of the former private owner. The Commonwealth now owns the Northern Endeavour facility.

The Laminaria and Corallina Decommissioning Cost Recovery Levy recovers costs associated with decommissioning the facility from the oil and gas industry. The levy ensures taxpayers don’t pay for decommissioning and remediation.

How we’re decommissioning the Northern Endeavour

Our department is working to complete the decommissioning program as efficiently as possible while ensuring workers are safe and the environment is protected.

We’re managing the program across 3 phases.

Our role includes:

Phase 1: Decommission and disconnect the Northern Endeavour from subsea equipment

During this phase we will:

  • temporarily suspend the oil wells
  • disconnect the facility from the flowlines and moorings that anchor it to the seabed to allow towing
  • tow and recycle the vessel.

Our department has conditional environmental approval under the EPBC Act for this phase. This authorises us to conduct:

  • routine and maintenance operations of the FPSO and associated resource fields
  • phase 1 decommissioning activities.

There are 34 conditions we must meet while completing these activities. These conditions set high standards for protecting the environment.

Petrofac Facilities Management Limited is the registered operator and lead contractor delivering phase 1 decommissioning activities on behalf of our department. It must comply with the conditions.

Phase 2: Permanently plug and abandon wells

After disconnecting and removing the FPSO, we will:

  • permanently plug and abandon the oil wells to protect the environment
  • remove the well infrastructure.

Phase 3: Remove subsea infrastructure and remediate the Laminaria and Corallina fields

During this phase we will remove the remaining subsea equipment and infrastructure and transport it to shore for safe reuse, recycling and disposal. This includes removing flowlines, chains and mooring infrastructure.

Decommissioning progress 

Phase 1 decommissioning is underway. Planning and procurement for phases 2 and 3 is happening concurrently. Some key milestones:

  • 2020

    The Commonwealth took responsibility for the Northern Endeavour facility. 

    We engaged Upstream Production Solutions to operate and maintain the FPSO.

  • 2021

    The temporary Laminaria Corallina Decommissioning Cost Recovery Levy was a Budget 2021-22 announcement. It took effect in July.

    Amendments to the Titles Administration Act strengthened decommissioning laws for companies operating, or looking to operate, offshore facilities.

  • 2022

    We contracted Petrofac Facilities Management Limited to deliver phase 1 decommissioning works.

    Petrofac became the registered operator of the FPSO and took operational control.

    The regulator, National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), accepted Petrofac’s Safety Case and Wells Management Plan.

  • 2023

    We opened a global public procurement for phase 2 and 3 decommissioning through a request for proposal (RFP).

    We consulted on environmental plans for phase 1 decommissioning and received conditional environmental approval.

    Ownership of the subsea infrastructure, FPSO and onshore assets was vested in the Commonwealth. 

    Petrofac started phase 1 maintenance, cleaning and decontamination of the FPSO and subsea equipment. It secured vessels to do works, including the Sapura Constructor Light Well Intervention Vessel.

    We maintained vessel class certification for the FPSO through Lloyd’s Register.

  • 2024

    We requested information (RFI) through AusTender from domestic and international suppliers about options for towing, decontaminating and recycling the FPSO.

    We are working with Petrofac and independent experts to ensure compliance with the EPBC Act approval conditions. 

    We completed the Environmental Impact Assessment for removing the subsea infrastructure. We are now preparing for environmental and regulatory approvals including future stakeholder engagement and consultations.

    We have invited shortlisted respondents for phase 2 and 3 decommissioning to join the next request for tender (RFT) stage and will complete the tender in 2024. 

    We’re preparing a public procurement process through an RFT for the FPSO’s recycling. We expect to award contracts for phase 2 and 3 decommissioning and FPSO recycling later this year. 

    We will publish the first annual compliance report in line with EPBC Act approval conditions.

Was this page helpful?

Was this page useful?

Thank you for your feedback!

Would you like to tell us more about your experiences with this page? (optional)

Feedback you provide will not be directly answered. If you require a reply, please reach out to the page contact directly. For any other queries, please use our general enquiries web form.

Please do not include personal or financial information (e.g. email addresses, phone numbers or credit card details).

Your feedback is covered by our privacy policy.