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Offshore oil and gas decommissioning

The government regulates offshore oil and gas decommissioning under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006.

Decommissioning is a normal and planned petroleum activity. It refers to the plugging and permanently closing off wells, the safe removal of equipment, infrastructure and property and restoration of the environment.

Australia has laws, regulations and associated guidelines that have enabled decommissioning activities over the years.

We ensure that Australia’s policy and legislative frameworks:

  • remain fit for purpose now and into the future
  • can withstand increased decommissioning activity
  • clearly outline the obligations Australian law imposes on the oil and gas sector.

Decommissioning framework

We undertook a review of the offshore oil and gas decommissioning framework from 2018 to 2021.

Our enhanced decommissioning framework will:

  • increase oversight of changes in company control 
  • expand trailing liability provisions to apply in a broader range of circumstances 
  • clarify requirements for financial assurance that the titleholder can meet the costs, expenses and liabilities of carrying out a petroleum activity
  • modernise field development plans and enhancing decommissioning planning
  • increase the proactive use of remedial directions powers if required 
  • improve transparency of, and public engagement on, decommissioning.

Public consultation

Enhancements to offshore oil and gas regulations follow comprehensive policy development and public consultation.

Past consultations include:

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Last updated: 24 November 2021

Content ID: 68425