Preparing your EP five-year revision?

Article published in the Regulator | Issue 4: 2017

In the next few years, a large number of environment plans (EPs) covering operations for offshore facilities will reach the end of their five-year term. Titleholders are then required to submit a revised EP to NOPSEMA for assessment.

Typically, EPs for operating facilities are the most complex plans that NOPSEMA receives for assessment, as they involve long-term emissions and discharges, and large hydrocarbon inventories that pose a risk of spills. NOPSEMA is keen to find ways to improve the EP revision process to make it more efficient, and to achieve tangible improvements in offshore environmental management.

Currently, NOPSEMA is considering lessons learnt over the last five years and is preparing a communications program to be delivered in early 2018. The program will provide advice to the broader industry about NOPSEMA’s expectations for five-year EP revisions. NOPSEMA will also meet with titleholders to provide them with individual feedback if our regulatory activities have identified areas for them to focus on.

Our goal is to provide titleholders with the advice and feedback they need to assist them in preparing a revised EP that improves upon the original. This, in turn, will result in a shorter assessment timeframe and a higher probability of acceptance.

NOPSEMA will soon contact titleholders with EPs covering offshore facilities’ operations that are due for revision in 2018 and 2019. We will be enquiring about proposed submission dates. We will use this information to develop and implement our communications strategy and to inform our assessment planning.

Tips for preparing an EP revision:

• Be aware that the current requirements for EPs are under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Environment) Regulations 2009, as amended in 2014.

• NOPSEMA’s guidance on EP assessments is available on our website at www.nopsema.gov.au/ environmental-management/assessment-process.

• There may be changes to the protection status of the environment in the area of your petroleum activity, such as new Australian Marine Parks, or changes to conservation plans for threatened species. The latest information is available at www.environment.gov.au.