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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 released an enhanced framework for public consultation from 14 December 2020 to 22 January 2021. The consultation sought the view of stakeholders to inform government on how the framework could best be implemented. The government has considered and now endorsed the enhanced framework. We have commenced implementation.

Read the enhanced framework on our Consultation hub.


An exposure draft of the proposed Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Titles Administration and Other Measures) Bill 2021 has now been released. It makes the legislative changes necessary to give effect to the enhanced framework. The Bill also gives effect to the relevant recommendations from the independent review into the circumstances leading to the administration and liquidation of Northern Oil and Gas Australia (the Walker Review).

Public consultation on the proposed legislative amendments is now open.

Read the exposure draft on our Consultation hub.

Next steps

An overarching implementation plan on the remaining policy and regulatory measures is being developed and will be released by us to ensure the framework is implemented by Q2 2022.

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: 18 June 2021

Content ID: 68425