What we do

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) is Australia’s independent offshore energy regulator.

We regulate health and safety, well integrity, and environmental management for all oil and gas operations, offshore renewable infrastructure and greenhouse gas storage activities in Commonwealth waters, and in coastal waters where we have been given regulatory powers.

Our role is also to assess risk management plans, inspect to monitor compliance, investigate to verify and learn from non-compliance, take enforcement action to correct and deter non-compliance and promote and advise with the objective of fostering continuous improvement in industry performance.

NOPSEMA fulfils its legislated functions by undertaking assessment, inspection, investigation, enforcement, promotion and advisory activities.

With the overall objective of improving industry performance, NOPSEMA has a function to promote and advise on health and safety, well integrity and environmental management matters.

NOPSEMA seeks to engage with its stakeholders including international regulatory counterparts through a variety of mechanisms, such as information sessions, presentations and participating in industry and regulatory conferences and forums.

NOPSEMA also publishes on its website a suite of industry performance data, policy and guidance material, latest news, reports and a quarterly newsletter.

For more information see Advice and promotion policy.


For any offshore petroleum or greenhouse gas storage activity to commence, an oil and gas company must first submit relevant risk management plans to NOPSEMA for assessment and acceptance. Submitted plans can include safety cases, well operations management plans, offshore project proposals and environment plans.

NOPSEMA's dedicated assessment teams, which comprise highly qualified and experienced industry experts, assess each plan against strict criteria as set out in the Offshore Petroleum Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGS Act) and associated regulations.

To be accepted, a plan must clearly demonstrate how a company will undertake a proposed activity to protect the health and safety of offshore workers and the integrity of the well(s) to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP) whilst reducing environmental impacts to levels that are ALARP and acceptable.

What level of protection does ALARP provide?

A level that is "as low as reasonably practicable" or ALARP, means that the duty holder has to demonstrate to NOPSEMA, through reasoned and supported arguments, that there are no other practical measures that could reasonably be taken to reduce risks further.


We conduct regular inspections to monitor an offshore petroleum company's ongoing compliance with:

  • the relevant regulations

  • the plans accepted by NOPSEMA during the activity's assessment phase.

Inspections are carried out using a risk-based methodology that considers:

  • relevant risk factors

  • performance and compliance history

  • current industry incident trends

  • any relevant findings from previous inspections.

Once an inspection's complete, NOPSEMA gives the titleholder or offshore petroleum company a detailed inspection report of our findings, conclusions, and any recommendations for improvement.

We may also ask the company or titleholder to produce an action plan to address issues highlighted in the inspection report.


When a serious incident is reported or we detect a potential breach of regulations, we will start an investigation. This can include:

  • determine what went wrong

  • share lessons learned

  • hold the responsible parties to account through enforcement action, where necessary.

Enforcement action

When we determine there's been a breach of regulations, we may take enforcement action to:

  • rectify the breach

  • avoid a recurrence

  • act as a deterrent.

Enforcement action can include:

  • issuing improvement and prohibition notices

  • giving directions

  • requesting a revision or withdrawing acceptance of a plan approved by NOPSEMA during the activity's assessment phase

  • prosecution.

 Compliance strategy

NOPSEMA's Compliance Strategy is a strategic policy document that outlines the compliance framework and principles applied by NOPSEMA in undertaking its regulatory activities. The strategy aims to ensure that offshore petroleum activities are carried out in a safe and environmentally responsible way by encouraging, monitoring and enforcing compliance with the law.

NOPSEMA's approach to compliance is reflected in its core and non-core regulatory activities comprising advice and promotion, assessment, inspection, investigation, and enforcement. The Compliance Strategy explains the linkages between these activities and how regulatory intelligence is used to improve safety and environmental outcomes.

The below diagram indicates the overarching nature of the Compliance Strategy in relation to other key NOPSEMA policies.

Consultation process outcomes

In August 2016, NOPSEMA invited stakeholders to review and provide comment on NOPSEMA's Compliance Strategy. NOPSEMA has compiled a summary of the feedback received along with NOPSEMA's considerations and subsequent response. Following the feedback evaluation process, NOPSEMA has made a number of updates and clarifications to key policies, including the inspection and enforcement policies. For more information see the Compliance Strategy feedback summary.




Related Documents

Title Type Size Date
ALARP guidance note PDF 779.09 KB 01/08/2022
Investigation policy PDF 198.21 KB 25/05/2022
Inspection policy PDF 165.84 KB 15/12/2021
Advice and promotion policy PDF 121.6 KB 10/03/2021
Enforcement policy PDF 234.15 KB 12/08/2020
Assessment policy PDF 179.82 KB 12/08/2020
Compliance strategy COVID-19 pandemic PDF 280.23 KB 10/07/2020
Compliance Strategy feedback summary PDF 180.17 KB 23/03/2017
Compliance strategy PDF 444.63 KB 18/08/2016
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Page last updated: April 13, 2022 1:22pm