NOPSEMA Advisory Board

The NOPSEMA Advisory Board (the Board) provides advice and makes recommendations to the responsible Commonwealth Minister, state and Northern Territory ministers and the body known as the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council on NOPSEMA's performance of its functions and policy and strategic matters relating to:

  • occupational health and safety of persons engaged in offshore petroleum operations

  • structural integrity of facilities, wells or well-related equipment in NOPSEMA waters

  • offshore petroleum environmental management.

Under the provisions of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGS Act), the Board is established as a separate entity to NOPSEMA and does not have a role in decision-making matters, nor may it direct the operations or individual decisions of NOPSEMA. Section 654 of the OPGGS Act sets out the functions of the Board in full.

The Board may provide advice and recommendations to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NOPSEMA about operational policies and strategies to which the CEO must have regard.

Further to recent correspondence sent to the Board in relation to BP’s proposed exploration drilling in the Great Australian Bight, the Board acknowledges the concerns raised by the senders, which are consistent with topics being considered by NOPSEMA. However, the Board does not have the legal authority to forward such correspondence to NOPSEMA or any other third parties, persons or organisations (for example due to privacy or confidentiality reasons). Those wishing to raise matters relating to a particular activity should raise them directly with NOPSEMA in writing by email to

NOPSEMA Advisory Board members

The responsible Commonwealth Minister has appointed the following members to the NOPSEMA Advisory Board. Secretariat services to the Board are provided by NOPSEMA.

The Board members have been appointed for terms of up to three years, as recommended by the COAG Energy Council.

Should you wish to contact any of the Board members please email the Board Secretariat

Mr Keith Spence (Chair)

With more than 30 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry, including 18 years working for Shell, Mr Spence has a broad knowledge of the Australian offshore petroleum industry. Mr Spence retired from Woodside Petroleum in 2008 after a 14-year tenure with the company, where he occupied top executive positions. Mr Spence held many roles during his period with Woodside, including chief operating officer and acting chief executive officer.

Mr Spence chairs the Advisory Board of the Australian Centre for Energy and Process Training. He is Non-Executive Chairman of Base Resources Limited and Geodynamics Limited, and a Non-Executive Director of Oil Search Limited and Independence Group NL.

Dr Jan Hayes

Dr Hayes has 25 years’ experience in safety and risk management. Her experience covers a range of industries including offshore oil and gas, onshore petrochemicals, gas pipelines, mining, manufacturing and transportation, and air traffic control. She began her career in 1983 in oil and gas process plant operations, and then moved into detailed design. She has been involved in the initial Australian oil industry response to the Piper Alpha incident in 1998 and has worked almost exclusively in the field of industrial safety since then.

Between 1991 and 2004, Dr Hayes was a director and part owner of Qest Consulting Pty Ltd, one of Australia’s best known industrial risk and safety consultancies. Holding a number of operational roles, she managed up to 50 staff and was personally responsible for projects ranging from technical safety studies such as: safety cases, HAZOP studies, quantified risk assessments and reliability studies, to organisational psychology reviews and human factors studies. She now holds an Associate Professor appointment at RMIT University where she is Program Leader for research on public safety for the Energy Pipelines Co-operative Research Centre. Her research interests include operational decision making, safety in design, engineering professionalism, use of standards and safety indicators.

Dr Jim Limerick, PSM

Dr Limerick has 30 years' experience in private and public organisations in the resources sector in Australia. He is presently the Chairman of Fremantle Ports in Western Australia and chairs the industry group, Ports WA. He also consults on public policy and administration and advises Australian and international aid agencies on resource sector governance regimes for developing countries.  He was a member of the Independent Advisory Committee to the board of PPTEP as the company undertook the Montara Action Plan under a Deed of Agreement with the Australian Government.

During the period 2001-2008 he was Director General of the Department of Industry & Resources, which had regulatory responsibility (including safety and environment) for the resources sector in Western Australia, and he was directly involved in the establishment of NOPSA. From 1986-2001 he was at the government-company interface during the establishment of many major resource projects in W.A., as Executive Director and later CEO of the Department of Resources Development.  With qualifications in metallurgy, he had previously worked for ten years in the nickel industry. He was awarded the Australian Public Service Medal in 2008.

Ms Trish Kerin

Ms Kerin was appointed as the director of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Safety Centre in January 2014.

After graduating from RMIT University with honours in mechanical engineering, Ms Kerin spent several years working in design, project management, operational, safety and executive roles for the oil, gas and chemical industries. Ms Kerin’s passion for process safety saw her take on several advisory committee roles. This includes representing the Plastics and Chemical Industries Association (PACIA) on drafting the 2007 OHS regulations for major hazards in Victoria – Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007. 

She has also represented the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) on the Safe Work Australia temporary advisory group for drafting the major hazard facility model law. Trish has also represented PACIA to the WorkSafe Victoria Major Hazards Advisory Committee and been an invited speaker for various local and international conferences. She currently is a member of the Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center steering committee.

Additional appointments have included positions as a director and vice president for a not-for-profit community radio station. Trish is a Chartered Engineer, a registered Professional Process Safety Engineer and Fellow of IChemE. She also holds a diploma of OHS and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD). 

Mr Ken Fitzpatrick

Ken Fitzpatrick brings over 30 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry in Australia and overseas, holding a range of senior positions responsible for drilling, development and production. Ken is currently Chair of the Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Growth Centre for the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Ken was CEO of PTTEP Australasia from 2011 to 2014 and has worked in senior positions in Ampolex, Mobil, Nexen and Woodside. He is a past WA State Chairman for Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) and was a member of the APPEA Montara/Macondo task force steering committee.

Erica Smyth FTSE; FAICD

Erica Smyth has over 40 years experience in the mineral and petroleum industries, initially as a minerals exploration geologist and later in government approvals, corporate affairs and community interactions for BHP and Woodside. She worked for 10 years in the oil and gas industry managing government and environmental approvals for offshore facilities, LNG and methanol facilities in Australia.

She is now a full time company director – including Chairman Diabetes Research WA; Deputy Chairman Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and non-executive director roles at Emeco Holdings Ltd, Deep Exploration Technologies CRC, the National Energy Resources Australia Growth Centre (NERA), the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) and the Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations (RFDS WO). Previously she had been the Chairman of Toro Energy Ltd; Ochre Energy Ltd and the Pilbara Development Commission.

Erica has helped develop the modern approach to community consultation, social impact assessment and environmental approvals for titanium minerals, petroleum and uranium projects in Australia. Her personal focus on risk management is reflected in her current and past roles chairing Audit and Risk Committees at ANSTO, RFDS WO, Toro Energy Ltd, and the UWA Senate.

Erica is also co-founder and Chairman of networking group Mega Data Cluster WA.