Improving access to environmental management information

Article published in the Regulator | Issue 4: 2017 

NOPSEMA has endorsed a collaborative project to develop publicly available environmental reference cases that will capture common environment plan (EP) content and typical environmental management practices in offshore petroleum activities.

The offshore petroleum industry can prepare and use the reference cases to more efficiently prepare their EPs for proposed activities in areas such as the Great Australian Bight and the north-west shelf. Environment nongovernment organisations, fisheries groups, the community and other stakeholders will also be able to access, provide content, and comment on reference cases before an EP approval process starts.

Applying reference cases has the potential to reduce the size and complexity of EPs. This can result in a faster development process, more time to focus on key issues, reduced consultation burden on industry and stakeholders, reduced assessment timeframes and improved public access to information.

“NOPSEMA supports broader government initiatives to reduce regulatory burden on industry and improve transparency and access to information for stakeholders. The Reference Case Project contributes to each of these objectives,” said NOPSEMA CEO, Mr Stuart Smith.

The first four reference cases are being developed by National Energy Resources Australia (NERA). NERA, as an independent and trusted broker, have agreed to become the interim coordinator for the reference case project. NERA will work with industry and all stakeholders to better define the value from having a set of common industry environmental reference cases, and determine a sustainable model for the ongoing review, maintenance and development of future reference cases.