Changes to environmental reporting requirements

Article published in the Regulator | Issue 4: 2014 

On 28 February 2014, new and changed notification and reporting requirements were introduced as part of amendments to the Offshore Petroleum Greenhouse Gas Storage (Environment) Regulations.

Since the changes took effect, NOPSEMA has recorded a number of instances where titleholders have not complied with the requirements under the Regulations for notification of reportable environment incidents. Specific examples include failing to notify NOPSEMA of a reportable incident within the specified timeframes and failing to provide written records of notification of the incident.

Titleholders should be aware that four changes to the notification/reporting requirements were introduced as part of an amendment to Regulations 26 & 26A. The changes were:

  • Reg 26 (4): The initial notification of the reportable incident must be given orally to the Regulator as soon as practicable, and in any case not later than 2 hours after the first occurrence of the reportable incident; or if the reportable incident was not detected by the titleholder at the time of the first occurrence – the time the titleholder becomes aware of the reportable incident.

  • Reg 26 (6): A written record of the notification must be given by the titleholder to NOPSEMA, the Titles Administrator and the Department of the responsible State Minister, or the responsible Northern Territory Minister as soon as practicable after making the verbal notification to NOPSEMA.

  • Reg 26A (4): The written report of the incident must include any action taken or proposed to be taken to prevent a similar incident in the future.

  • Reg 26A (5): Within 7 days after giving a written report or a reportable incident to the Regulator, the titleholder must give a copy of the report to the Titles Administrator; and the Department of the responsible State Minister, or the responsible Northern Territory Minister.

The written record of notification in Reg 26 (6) may take the form of an email, letter or report.

In determining whether an incident is reportable, titleholders should refer to their environment plans; specifically the arrangements given for reporting incidents. Titleholders should also refer to the reportable incident definition in the Regulations.

NOPSEMA provides a template to assist titleholders in submitting the required information for the written report. To view the template or for more information see Notification and Reporting page.