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Morrison overhauls Australian oil and gas legislation

15 May 2020 8:58 AM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)

THE FEDERAL government has passed key legislation covering many areas of the upstream oil and gas industry, ranging from regulatory powers and levies, to the future of carbon capture and storage developments.

All amendments to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 proposed by the government were finally accepted this week, after many months of debate. 

Separate amendments by Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick failed, as did an amendment by Greens senator and anti-oil and gas campaigner Sarah Hanson-Young. 

The former wanted to see an amendment to stop multiple extensions to exploration permits for companies holding acreage in Commonwealth waters in the Great Australian Bight while the latter wished to see a moratorium imposed on any future drilling or exploration. 

The government's legislation came in a series of Bills, one focused on the role of the national regulator and oil and gas boundaries, and another paving the way forward for CCS and hydrogen exports, finally formally moving the role of overseeing offshore CO2 storage to the offshore oil and gas safety and environmental regulator NOPSEMA from the Department of Industry and Innovation. 


The Senate voted in favour of overhauling offshore oil and gas regulations to give the national environment and safety watchdog a new, sharper, set of teeth. 

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) has been given powers to enforce penalties and issue directions to operators in state waters, should an Oil Spill Emergency occur. 

Source: Energy News Bulletin

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