Operator nomination and registration

Under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Safety) Regulations 2009 (the Safety Regulations) an offshore facility (vessel, structure or licensed pipeline) in Commonwealth waters must have a registered operator.

Similar operator nomination, registration and deregistration provisions apply in designated coastal waters where states and the Northern Territory have made legislation that mirrors the Commonwealth legislation. The operator nomination requirements for pipelines which traverse designated coastal waters may have different requirements depending on that state or territory's regulations.


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What is a registered operator?

The registered operator is the person who has day-to-day management and control of the facility and its activities. For facilities where there is no associated title, lease, permit etc. (for example vessels and mobile offshore drilling units) the facility owner may nominate a party to be the operator of the facility. For facilities where there is an associated title, lease, permit etc. (for example production facilities and licensed pipelines) the titleholder (including the pipeline licensee) may nominate a party to be the operator of the facility.

Register of current operators

Under the Safety Regulations, NOPSEMA maintains and publishes a register of current operators. Register - Current operators - 31 March 2017 (PDF 102KB)

Nominating a facility operator

Operators should use FM0008 - Facility operator nomination - Rev 22 - February 2017 (DOCX 178KB) as the standard nomination for each facility located in either Commonwealth or Victorian designated coastal waters. One form should be used for each facility. Connecting pipelines with separate licence numbers should be nominated separately.

The standard nomination form must be accompanied by a completed FM0065 - Analysis of operator status - Rev 8 - January 2016 (DOCX 199KB). This provides the nominator an opportunity to analyse the proposed operator arrangements against NOPSEMA's operator registration decision criteria, which is: Will the nominated operator have "day-to-day management and control" [Regulation 2.3(1) of the Safety Regulations].

NOPSEMA's decision to accept or reject nominated parties as operators is made using GN0007 - Criteria for registration and deregistration - Rev 7 - December 2011 (PDF 124KB). NOPSEMA's indicative performance measure in reaching a decision is 30 days after the regulator has received the completed operator nomination form and worksheet.

To submit an operator nomination see the Making a submission to NOPSEMA page.

Replacing a facility operator

Where there is a new or incoming operator taking over the operatorship of a facility from an existing operator, the pipeline licensee or facility owner or titleholder (as applicable), must nominate the replacement operator to NOPSEMA. See nominating an operator for more information.

NOPSEMA will consider the nomination of a replacement operator in the same manner as an initial nomination.

Once the replacement operator has been registered, they must agree with NOPSEMA on the scope of validation before submitting a safety case for the 'proposed' facility. If NOPSEMA accepts the safety case, then arrangements may commence for the new operator to take over as the facility operator and this will coincide with the removal of the outgoing operator from the operator register.

For further guidance please see GN0619 - Replacement of a registered operator for a facility or pipeline - Rev 6 - November 2015 (PDF 159KB).

Deregistration of a facility operator

The pipeline licensee, facility owner, titleholder or existing facility operator should use FM0617 - Removal of existing facility operator from operator register - Rev 11 - January 2015 (DOCX 60KB) to notify NOPSEMA that the existing facility operator has ceased to be the person who has or will have day-to-day management of the facility. On receipt of this notification NOPSEMA will remove the operator's name from the register of current operators.

It should be noted that deregistration of an existing facility operator and registration of a replacement operator will not necessarily occur at the same time. Often the existing operator will remain registered and will continue to operate the facility until the incoming operator has been registered, has agreed with NOPSEMA on the scope of validation and has had their safety case accepted.