In 2018–19, NOPSEMA continued to build its profile as a word class regulator through its active engagement with fellow international regulatory counterparts.
Particular priority is given to two forums, including the International Regulators’ Forum (IRF) and the International Offshore Petroleum Environmental Regulators (IOPER). These forums comprise the offshore petroleum regulatory bodies from leading international jurisdictions for safety and environmental management.
The IOPER is a collaborative group of national regulators dedicated to raising environmental performance standards within the offshore petroleum industry. Country members include Australia (represented by NOPSEMA), Brazil, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US).
A number of regulatory initiatives have been progressed by members of the IOPER since its establishment in 2013. Specifically NOPSEMA has advanced work on key areas of interest notably, spill preparedness and response, marine sound and environmental performance indicators.
In November 2018, NOPSEMA’s Head of Division for Environment attended the IOPER annual general meeting and seminar in Washington D.C to provide a jurisdictional update and exchange information about regulatory best practice.
In May 2019, NOPSEMA hosted a series of informal regulatory exchange sessions in Perth. IOPER members were invited to join in exploration of priority issue areas in order to present jurisdictional compliance challenges, share successes and learnings, and exchange regulatory process and supporting materials. Each session was led by a nominated regulator with opportunity for other jurisdictions to informally share their own experience and further discuss areas of interest.
The IRF is a forum of offshore petroleum regulators from around the world and NOPSEMA is Australia’s representative on this forum. Other member countries include Canada, Denmark, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, the Netherlands, the UK, the US and the newest member Ireland. The IRF exists to drive forward improvements in health and safety in the offshore oil and gas industry through collaboration on joint programmes and information sharing.
In June 2019, IRF members gathered in The Hague for the annual general meeting. At the meeting IRF members reiterated their call to action to international petroleum industry associations and individual operators for enhanced safety leadership with sustained efforts to prevent incidents, particularly with respect to process safety and major accident events. Common areas of priority for improvement in risk reduction include the prevention of well control incidents through effective barrier management, maintaining safe operations in production, learning and knowledge sharing across the industry, and ensuring the safe implementation of digital technologies. IRF members also deliberated the rapidly changing nature of today’s energy sector and discussed the development of renewable energy sources and other emerging challenges and opportunities.