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Offshore oil and gas decommissioning framework review

We have reviewed policies and laws for offshore oil and gas equipment in Australian Commonwealth waters.

Decommissioning deals with the safe removal of property and restoration of the environment. This is the process through which all equipment, infrastructure and wells associated with a petroleum activity are safely removed when no longer used or required. Decommissioning is a normal and planned activity.

Australia has a robust regulatory framework that has enabled a number of small decommissioning activities over the years. Unlike countries with more established oil and gas sectors like Norway and the United Kingdom, Australia’s oil and gas industry is in its infancy when it comes to decommissioning.

As our offshore oil and gas sector continues to mature, there will be an increase in decommissioning activity. This will bring challenges and new opportunities for Australia.

Review process

In anticipation of this increased activity, we have reviewed Australia’s policy and legislative frameworks to ensure:

  • they remain fit for purpose now and into the future
  • they can withstand increased decommissioning activity
  • the obligations Australian law imposes on the oil and gas sector are clear

Discussion paper

We released a discussion paper for public comment from October 2018 to early 2019. We supported consultation with discussion forums in Perth and Melbourne. The submissions and feedback we received helped us develop a revised framework.

Read the paper and submissions on our Consultation hub

Enhanced framework

We are now seeking views on an enhanced framework, in particular the views of relevant stakeholders on how the framework is best implemented.

Provide your views on the revised framework on our Consultation hub

Expected outcomes

In 2021 we will provide the final framework and an implementation plan to the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia. It will then be considered by government. Once endorsed, we will implement the framework.

Stay informed

To receive updates on the review subscribe to the Australian Petroleum Newsletter or email

Read more

Read more about how we regulate offshore oil and gas in Australian waters

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Last updated: 14 December 2020

Content ID: 68425