Regulatory Update: Australia (Offshore)

The Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies) Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2019 and the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Cross‑boundary Greenhouse Gas Titles and Other Measures) Bill 2019 were introduced on 4 December 2019.

The Bills propose the following key changes to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 and the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies) Act 2003:

  • Allow effective title administration and regulation of a GHG storage formation that straddles the boundary between State/NT coastal waters and Commonwealth waters;
  • Enable unification of adjacent Commonwealth GHG titles;
  • Strengthen and clarify the monitoring, inspection and enforcement powers of NOPSEMA within State/Territory jurisdiction during an oil pollution emergency originating in Commonwealth waters; and
  • Ensure that levies imposed by the Levies Act are effectively imposed on cross-boundary GHG titles.

The Bills provide that GHG storage and injection in the cross-boundaries between state/NT waters and Commonwealth waters are to be treated as Commonwealth waters and establish a Cross-boundary Authority (consisting of the Commonwealth Minister and the relevant Resources Minister of the State) which will be responsible for making decisions about the granting of cross-boundary GHG titles, similar to the Joint Authority agreements for petroleum titles. Levies imposed by the OPGGS Regulatory Levies Act will be applied to cross-boundary titles.

Protections for pre-commencement petroleum titles and existing petroleum production licences, both in Commonwealth waters and State/NT coastal waters, will be maintained.