Trailing liability for decommissioning of offshore petroleum property: guidelines

Date published:
7 March 2022

The Australian Parliament passed amendments to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGS Act) in 2021 to enhance Australia’s framework for decommissioning offshore oil and gas infrastructure.

This included expanding existing remedial direction provisions to enable a greater range of people to be called back to do remedial work, if required. This is known as trailing liability.

The trailing liability for decommissioning of offshore petroleum property guideline aims to help you understand:

  • the scope of the trailing liability provisions
  • provide general information on how these provisions may be applied. 

This guideline does not replace, nor limit, the OPGGS Act and associated regulations. The guideline does not constrain the powers of the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) or the responsible Commonwealth Minister.

Trailing liability

Trailing liability is designed to ensure that the costs and liabilities associated with decommissioning will be borne by the petroleum industry and do not become the responsibility of government or the Australian community. 

Pre-existing trailing liability provisions

Prior to commencement of the expanded remedial directions provisions, a form of trailing liability was already provided for under the OPGGS Act.