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Independent reviews

In its role as the independent offshore energy regulator, it is appropriate that NOPSEMA is regularly subject to a range of external reviews and audits to ensure it continues to be effective in bringing about improvements in occupational health and safety, well integrity, and environmental management across the offshore oil and gas industry.

In 2020, the independent operational review of NOPSEMA found it to be "appropriately focused in bringing about improvement in OHS, well integrity and environmental management across the offshore oil and gas industry." 

The review also found NOPSEMA to be "compliant with its obligations in administering the streamlined Endorsed Program under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999."

The review made 31 recommendations and identified 21 opportunities for improvement. The Australian Government will respond to the review later in 2021.

For more information see the 2020 Operational review of NOPSEMA report. 

In 2019, Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO, conducted an independent audit of NOPSEMA's consideration of exploration in the Great Australian Bight and found NOPSEMA to be "a highly skilled, professional and competent regulator."

The audit found NOPSEMA:

  • to be a highly skilled, professional and competent regulator
  • has appropriate processes, procedures and guidance material in place to meet its regulatory requirements
  • has appropriate processes and practices to ensure environment plans are assessed against relevant and complete scientific and technical information

For more information see the independent audit of NOPSEMA’s consideration of exploration in the Great Australian Bight final report and NOPSEMA's response.

In 2015, an independent operational review of NOPSEMA's effectiveness in bringing about improvements in occupational health and safety, structural integrity and environmental management found NOPSEMA to be "demonstrating the characteristics of an effective regulator".

Of the 16 recommendations and 26 findings made, the Australian Government considered and accepted 15 recommendations, noted one recommendation, and supported all findings.

For more information see the 2015 Operational Review of NOPSEMA report and the Australian Government response.

In 2015, an independent review of NOPSEMA's compliance with the environmental management authorisation process endorsed under the EPBC Act determined that NOPSEMA is meeting all of its commitments.

In 2014, the Minister for the Environment endorsed NOPSEMA's environmental authorisation process (the Program) under the strategic assessment provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The endorsement provided for EPBC Act approval of petroleum activities authorised under NOPSEMA's process. The endorsed Program included a commitment to a periodic independent review of NOPSEMA's compliance with the Program.

The first review commenced in 2015 following 12 months of operation of the Program. Environmental Resources Management Australia (ERM) was commissioned to conduct the review under terms of reference agreed by the Department of Industry and Science, the Department of Environment, and NOPSEMA. The scope of the review considered NOPSEMA's performance in meeting the Program objectives, including ensuring that impacts on matters protected under Part 3 of the EPBC Act are not unacceptable.

The review found that NOPSEMA met all commitments under the Program, which were triggered during the review period, and that the required processes and procedures are in place for the Program commitments to continue to be met in the future. The review did not make any formal recommendations or require modification of management arrangements, however, did identify a range of opportunities for improvement, which NOPSEMA accepted.

For more information see the EPBC Act Streamlining Review report and NOPSEMA response to observations and improvements. Future EPBC Act streamlining reviews will be incorporated into the five-yearly independent operational review of NOPSEMA. 

Page last updated: July 30, 2021 12:29pm