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Regulating offshore greenhouse gas storage in Australian waters
We regulate greenhouse gas storage in Australian waters under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006.
Australian waters are the offshore area beyond coastal waters, starting 3 nautical miles from shore.
The Act is supported by 4 greenhouse gas storage regulations:
- Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Greenhouse Gas Injection and Storage) Regulations 2011
- Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Resource Management and Administration) Regulations 2011
- Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Environment) Regulations 2009
- Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Safety) Regulations 2009
Our regulatory role includes:
- providing companies the opportunity to apply for assessment permits, holding leases and injection licences
- ensuring greenhouse gas is safely and securely stored
- providing mechanisms to manage interactions between the green and petroleum industries
- regulating site closures and long-term liability treatments
The Regulatory guiding principles for carbon dioxide capture and geological storage sets a consistent national approach to carbon dioxide capture and geological storage.
Interaction with petroleum titles
The Act describes how the petroleum (oil and gas) industry and the GHG industry coexist. In some circumstances, one activity could impact the other. To manage this, the legislation distinguishes between pre-commencement petroleum titles and post-commencement petroleum titles.
Petroleum titles awarded before November 2008, including titles directly derived from these titles, are considered pre commencement titles.
A significant impact test protects the rights of these titles, and activities cannot be approved unless the responsible Commonwealth Minister is satisfied:
- the activity does not pose a significant risk of causing a significant adverse impact on a pre-commencement petroleum title
- there is a commercial agreement between the two titleholders
All petroleum exploration permits awarded after November 2008, including titles directly derived from these titles, are considered post-commencement titles.
If there is no agreement between a petroleum titleholder and a GHG titleholder, and the two activities cannot co-exist, the responsible Commonwealth Minister makes a decision about which activity should proceed in the public interest. Once granted, the significant impacts test protects the post-commencement petroleum production licence.
For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Offshore greenhouse gas storage acreage release and exploration
The Australian Government releases offshore areas for greenhouse gas assessment via the offshore GHG acreage release.
The release provides an opportunity for companies to apply for a GHG assessment permit over an area of interest.
The releases are only held when there is sufficient interest, and they usually run for 12 months.
Email email@example.com to register your interest.
Exploration and storage activities
Companies granted a GHG assessment permit in the acreage release, can undertake exploration and appraisal activities in their permit area.
Companies that find a suitable site for permanent greenhouse gas storage in their area, must apply for a declaration of GHG storage formation.
Companies with a declared GHG storage formation who aren’t in a position to inject, can apply for a GHG storage holding lease.
Companies wanting to commence permanent injection and storage in a declared storage formation, must apply for a GHG injection licence.
All greenhouse gas activities must have an environment plan assessed and accepted by NOPSEMA before an activity can take place.
Greenhouse gas storage acreage releases
There have been 2 greenhouse gas storage acreage release processes.
- In 2012, the Victorian government was awarded a greenhouse gas assessment permit for the CarbonNet project. The permit covered 4,400 km2 off the Gippsland coast.
- In 2015, the Victorian government was awarded 3 greenhouse gas assessment permits.
Last updated: 8 December 2020
Content ID: 46907