New Petroleum Decommissioning Guideline

New guidelines help petroleum operators understand their broader decommission responsibilities.
Date: Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) has published new petroleum decommissioning guidelines which outline regulatory obligations for registered petroleum title holders.

DMIRS Executive Director Petroleum Jeff Haworth said the Petroleum Decommissioning Guideline will help operators, onshore and offshore of the State, to understand their broader responsibilities in the planning and submission of a decommissioning program.

“Western Australian petroleum legislation has defined procedures and responsibilities for the decommissioning of petroleum fields, and while registered holders should be familiar with this legislation, this guideline expands upon a number of the requirements,” Mr Haworth said.

“The petroleum industry is increasingly acknowledging the broad issues surrounding decommissioning and progressively assessing its options.

“There’s no doubt the decommissioning of petroleum fields in Western Australia is an emerging issue as a large portfolio of production assets near the end of their productive life.

“Best practice suggests early planning and budgeting of a petroleum project should include an assessment of a fields’ decommissioning options, as this can significantly reduce future costs and increase reserve recoveries.

Mr Haworth said the new guideline, developed in consultation with industry, should form part of the assessment process.

The guideline includes, among other things, a regulatory overview that covers Well Management Plans, Field Management Plans, Environmental Plans and Safety Case or Safety Management Systems.

There are also comprehensive sections that expand upon the legislative regulations in relation to infrastructure, ‘best practice’ decommissioning planning and the post-decommissioning phase.

DMIRS is the regulator for safety, environmental and resource management for petroleum activities in Western Australia.

As the primary point of contact, DMIRS will facilitate meetings between the registered holder and all other government stakeholders to formulate a whole-of-government approach for the approval of submitted decommissioning programs.