Temporary flexibility measures provided to oil and gas explorers at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic will conclude on 31 January 2021.
These temporary measures were introduced in April 2020 in response to the impact of COVID-19 on the operations of oil and gas exploration companies. The additional flexibility measures are now fully subscribed to across offshore petroleum exploration permits.
Following the conclusion of these measures, sufficient flexibility remains within the existing regulatory regime to assist titleholders unable to meet their work program commitments due to force majeure circumstances (such as COVID-19).
Companies will still be able to seek a force majeure suspension and extensions supported by appropriate and valid reasoning. Unforeseen circumstances may include delays to operational activities due to restrictions on vessels, crews and equipment.
Applications for the suspension and extension of offshore petroleum exploration permits should be considered, taking into account the Offshore Petroleum Exploration Guideline: Work-Bid (July 2019) and the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006.