New Petroleum Bill Changes maritime boundaries

Change will allow for all of WA’s petroleum legislation to cover any future blocks that relocate to State waters
Date: Thursday, 15 June 2017

The Petroleum Legislation Amendment Bill to allow for the sharing of petroleum agreements across Commonwealth and State jurisdictions will be reintroduced to Parliament yesterday.

The 2017 Bill resolves a deficiency in the State petroleum legislation highlighted during the drafting of the Torosa Apportionment Agreement signed in July 2015 by the State, Commonwealth and the Woodside Browse joint venture.

It also allows for any future changes to maritime boundaries between State and Commonwealth offshore areas.

Department of Mines and Petroleum Executive Director Petroleum Jeff Haworth said the Bill follows advice from Geoscience Australia that it had redrawn the maritime boundaries in 2014.

“That decision was made after several years of re-surveying the area and the discovery of rocky outcrops, known as the ‘Golden Rocks’, on North Scott Reef and Seringapatam Reef  in the State’s north,” he said.

“This remapping provided a windfall for State Government royalties, increasing the share of the Torosa gas field from 5 per cent to a fixed 65 per cent.

“That will potentially generate around $1.34 billion in royalties to the State when the field commences production.”

The Bill was introduced into the Legislative Council by Alannah MacTiernan on behalf of the Minister for Mines and Petroleum Bill Johnston.

Mr Johnston said the State Government introduced the 2017 Bill early in the new Parliament and has kept the Commonwealth and the Woodside Browse Joint Venture informed of its intentions.

The Commonwealth has advised that in 2018 there will be some smaller boundary changes in the Western Australia offshore area outside of the Browse Basin.

It is expected those changes will also be beneficial to WA, but unlike Scott Reef, they will not affect existing discoveries