When a company wishes to commence an offshore petroleum activity, it must first submit the relevant permissioning documents to NOPSEMA for independent assessment and approval. Key permissioning documents can include a safety case, well operations management plan (WOMP), diving safety management system (DSMS), diving project plan, offshore project proposal (OPP) or environment plan.
NOPSEMA received 158 submissions of key permissioning documents in 2018–19.
Dedicated assessment teams, comprising highly qualified and experienced technical experts, assess each permissioning document against strict criteria as set out in the OPGGS Act and its regulations.
To be approved, a permissioning document must clearly demonstrate to NOPSEMA how a company plans to undertake an offshore petroleum activity while protecting the health and safety of the workforce and reducing environmental risks and impacts. All assessment decision making is independent of industry proponents and considers only the relevant merits of each specific circumstance.
In 2018–19, NOPSEMA completed 158 assessments of key permissioning documents with 99 per cent notified within the legislated timeframe. NOPSEMA also completed a further 208 assessments of other regulatory submissions.
NOPSEMA completed 41 environment plan assessments comprising 26 new and 15 revisions to environment plans.
The range of activities assessed included seismic surveys (7), drilling (10), production operations (9), construction or modification of a facility or pipeline (5), other surveys (2) and any other petroleum or greenhouse gas activity (8). NOPSEMA also completed two OPP assessments for suitability to publish for a period of public comment. Of the 41 environment plan assessments, all were accepted. Both OPP assessments were accepted as well. 98 per cent of environment plans and 100 per cent of OPP assessments were notified within the legislated timeframe.
NOPSEMA completed 91 safety case assessments comprising 12 new and 79 revisions to a safety case. The range of facilities assessed included production platforms (20), vessels or other structures (19), Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs) or drill ships (21), pipelines (16) and floating production storage and offloading (15). Of the 91 safety case assessments, 72 were accepted and 19 rejected with 99% notified within the legislated timeframe.
NOPSEMA completed seven DSMS assessments with all seven being revisions to a DSMS. Of the seven DSMS assessments, six were accepted and one rejected with 100 per cent notified within the legislated timeframe.
NOPSEMA completed 17 WOMP assessments comprising 7 new and 10 revisions to a WOMP. The range of activities assessed covered all phases of a well’s lifecycle from drilling and completion to abandonment. Of the 17 WOMPs, 16 were accepted and one rejected with 100 per cent notified within the legislated timeframe.
Figure 4: Assessments 2018–19
Figure 4: Key permissioning documents assessments 2014–15 to 2018–19