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NOPSEMA supports increased transparency of offshore environmental assessments

27 March, 2019

Amendments to the Environment Regulations to increase the transparency of offshore oil and gas environment plans will come into force from 25 April 2019. From this date draft environment plans submitted to NOPSEMA will be published prior to regulatory assessment, and a 30 day public comment period will apply to environment plans for seismic surveys and exploratory drilling.

These changes will provide the public with an opportunity to have their say on the proposed environmental management of offshore exploration activities before NOPSEMA commences assessment. Comments received will be taken into account by NOPSEMA when determining the acceptability of the proposed environmental management approach.

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science led a regulatory review and consultation process that resulted in the amendments to the Environment Regulations, including the introduction of the requirements to publish all environment plans and the 30 day public comment period for seismic surveys and exploration drilling.

The revised Environment Regulations do not remove the need for relevant person consultation to be undertaken by titleholders. Consultation with relevant persons must be undertaken by the titleholder during preparation of the environment plan, and should be used to develop approaches to environmental management.

Environment plans submitted to NOPSEMA prior to the revised Environment Regulations coming into effect will be assessed under the current regulatory framework. NOPSEMA encourages all titleholders planning to submit environment plans prior to 25 April to voluntarily publish their environment plans and seek public feedback on them.

NOPSEMA’s proposed updates to regulatory policies, guidance and forms to give effect to the transparency amendments have been released for public comment and can be found in the news announcement Transitioning transparency ep guidance open comment.

The announcement of the changes to the Environment Regulations by the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia can be found at

To watch the Transitioning to Transparency information session, download the video via the NOPSEMA Google drive


  • environmental management
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