NOPSEMA takes compliance action against Woodside Energy Ltd
NOPSEMA has accepted a revised Nganhurra Cessation of Operations Environment Plan by Woodside, for the decommissioning of the Nganhurra riser turret mooring from title area WA-28-L. Through accepting the environment plan, NOPSEMA has required Woodside to implement a range of protective measures to prevent and mitigate impacts to whale sharks, turtles, and seabirds.
In addition, NOPSEMA has initiated regulatory compliance action due to Woodside being unable to comply with an originally approved plan to remove the equipment for onshore disposal. Due to the equipment’s poor condition and repair, this is no longer feasible without unacceptable risks to safety and the environment.
Woodside has been issued with enforcement action in the form of a General Direction requiring wells be plugged or closed off, and property no longer in use to be removed in a timely and proper manner. The General Direction reinforces legal requirements regarding the removal of property associated with offshore petroleum activities, and carries significant civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance.
Further, as Woodside is unable to decommission the riser turret mooring as originally approved, NOPSEMA is investigating possible breaches of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006. The investigation will examine possible breaches of the law relating to requirements to maintain property in good condition and repair.
Decommissioning of the riser turret mooring can now be through removal from the title area for placement on the seabed as part of an integrated artificial reef. Decommissioning in this way requires a permit under sea dumping legislation administered by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. This regulatory process is in addition to NOPSEMA’s assessment of Woodside’s environment plan.
NOPSEMA has issued a report addressing the key matters that arose through the assessment of the environment plan, including concerns around the degradation of the riser turret mooring. The Key Matters Report and Woodside’s accepted environment plan can be found at NOPSEMA online.
The General Direction (no. 812) and previously issued Improvement Notice (no. 775) can be found on the published directions and notices page.
In December 2020, NOPSEMA launched an industry-wide compliance plan to reinforce legal requirements regarding the removal of property associated with offshore petroleum activities. Compliance actions include the issuance of Directions to some titleholders specific to decommissioning and end-of-life requirements.
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