Guidance for petroleum title holders affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

State Government continues to support industry
Date: Monday, 11 May 2020

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston has acknowledged that some petroleum activities within the State’s jurisdiction may be affected by the State Government’s actions to restrict the spread of COVID-19.

The Minister’s view was published in a Minister’s Ministerial Opinion on 8 May 2020.

The measures taken to protect employee safety and health and the wider community have included travel restrictions, suspension of heritage surveys and protocols for minimising non-essential personal contact.

These actions will challenge the petroleum sector in a number of ways with industry already reporting the impacts COVID-19 is having on planned work programs.

In response, the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety has adopted the following temporary measures relating to applications for suspension and extensions to work commitments required on petroleum titles:

  • Affected title holders can apply for suspensions and extensions to their work commitments on force majeure grounds relating to COVID-19.
  • Applications for suspensions and extensions to work program commitments will continue to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Applications are to be:
    • made no earlier than three months prior, and no later than the end date, of the current permit year in which the holder is seeking the suspension and extension.
    • accompanied by sufficient compelling evidence that the ability complete the required work commitments has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic or government responses to the pandemic.
  • Applications will not be considered on the grounds of COVID-19 where work commitments should have been completed prior to the declaration of Western Australia’s State of Emergency on 15 March 2020.
  • Generally, a 12-month suspension and extension will be approved where the Delegate is satisfied with the application and supporting information.
  • An approved suspension and extension does not prevent proponents from undertaking work should the COVID-19 situation change within that time.