NOPSEMA receives first environment plan submission for proposed drilling in the Great Australian Bight

News announcement - Published 2 October, 2015

Recently there has been heightened stakeholder attention in relation to BP’s proposed exploration drilling in the Great Australian Bight. On 1 October 2015, BP submitted an environment plan for this proposed petroleum activity to NOPSEMA for assessment.

As part of NOPSEMA’s ongoing transparency on environmental approvals, NOPSEMA has published the submission information for this environment plan on its website. The information includes a description of the activity, a location map and contact details. In this instance, the submission also includes a link to information BP has prepared for stakeholders as part of their consultation program.

NOPSEMA will now assess the environment plan against the requirements of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Environment) Regulations 2009 (the Regulations) and in accordance with NOPSEMA’s assessment policies. Under the Regulations, a petroleum activity may not commence before the relevant environment plan has been assessed and accepted by NOPSEMA. It is important to note that this acceptance relates to the exploration drilling activity only, and that any further activities (including developments) are subject to additional assessment processes.

The Regulations require titleholders to undertake proactive consultation directly with relevant stakeholders (defined as relevant persons in the Regulations) in the planning stages of a petroleum activity. This way, the titleholder can better meet specific information needs of relevant stakeholders and more readily address any claims or objections raised. Titleholders are required to submit a detailed report to NOPSEMA on their consultation process, outcomes and response to any objections or claims. This requirement includes providing full text copies of any correspondence between the titleholder and relevant stakeholders. The information is submitted to NOPSEMA for assessment as part of the environment plan and is considered in NOPSEMA’s decision-making.

NOPSEMA will reach an initial assessment decision within 30 days of submission. That decision may not be the final decision to accept or refuse the environment plan as NOPSEMA may require that BP provide further written information or modify and resubmit the environment plan for assessment. If the environment plan doesn’t comply with the Regulations then the timeframe for NOPSEMA to reach a final decision may vary. Further information about NOPSEMA’s environment plan assessment process can be found here.

When NOPSEMA reaches a final decision, NOPSEMA will update the status of the submission. If NOPSEMA’s final decision is to accept the environment plan then an Environment Plan Summary document provided by BP will also be published after NOPSEMA is satisfied that the content appropriately reflects the accepted environment plan.

Stakeholders can subscribe to receive an email alert when the status of the BP’s drilling environment plan changes by clicking ‘Subscribe’ on the environment plan’s submission page. Stakeholders may also wish to subscribe to receive email alerts on other search criteria, such as new environment plan submissions in selected regions, on NOPSEMA’s Environment Plan Submissions & Summaries Search page.

To contact BP see the contact details provided on the environment plan’s submission page.

For more information about NOPSEMA, environment regulation, or to provide feedback please see NOPSEMA’s website, the Quick links section of this page or email

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  • environmental management