Legislation and regulation

The Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGS Act) and associated regulations provides the legal framework for the exploration and recovery of petroleum and greenhouse gas activities in Commonwealth waters (those areas that are more than three nautical miles from the territorial seal baseline).

NOPSEMA is an independent statutory authority established under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGS Act). NOPSEMA’s principal functions are as follows:

  • to promote the occupational health and safety (OHS) of persons engaged in offshore petroleum operations or offshore greenhouse gas storage operations
  • to develop and implement effective monitoring and enforcement strategies to ensure compliance under the OPGGS Act and regulations
  • to investigate accidents, occurrences and circumstances relating to OHS, well integrity and environmental management
  • to advise on matters relating to OHS, well integrity and environmental management
  • to make reports, including recommendations, to the responsible Commonwealth minister and each responsible state and Northern Territory minister
  • to cooperate with other Commonwealth and state or Northern Territory agencies or authorities having functions relating to regulated operations

For NOPSEMA's functions under Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Act 2021, please visit Offshore renewable energy | NOPSEMA.

NOPSEMA regulates all offshore areas in Commonwealth waters, which comprise those areas beyond the first three nautical miles (approximately 5.5 kilometres) of the territorial sea. NOPSEMA also regulates all offshore areas in coastal waters where a state or the Northern Territory has conferred regulatory powers and functions. In jurisdictions where powers to regulate are not conferred, regulatory responsibilities remain with the relevant state or territory.

As of November 2018, Victoria continues to be the only jurisdiction to have conferred its functions for the regulation of health and safety and structural integrity to NOPSEMA. Discussions regarding the conferral of powers continue with other jurisdictions.

NOPSEMA operates and regulates under the Australian Governments legislation and regulations.

List of legislation

List of regulations

Safety and integrity

Environmental management


For further information see the Cost effectiveness and levies page. 

Governance, performance and accountability


Freedom of information

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