Offshore oil and gas decommissioning framework: initial review

Closed 31 Jan 2019

Opened 5 Oct 2018

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


Companies must decommission oil and gas wells, pipelines and other infrastructure no longer needed or in use.

There is a robust regulatory framework in place and a number of smaller decommissioning activities have occurred. However, as the Australian offshore petroleum sector continues to mature, an increasing number of offshore petroleum projects will need to be decommissioned.  

To best prepare for increased and larger scale decommissioning activity, we are reviewing the policy, regulatory and legislative framework for decommissioning offshore petroleum infrastructure in Commonwealth waters. This will ensure it is fit-for-purpose and positions Australia to respond to decommissioning challenges and opportunities now and into the future.

The decommissioning review will be conducted in accordance with its Terms of Reference, and will identify areas where the existing framework could be clarified, rationalised or improved in order to provide certainty and assurance to both industry and the broader Australian community.

Discussion Paper

This discussion paper is an important first step in the review and aim to stimulate discussion on the decommissioning framework:

See a summary of the issues, opportunities, options and questions outlined in the discussion paper:

Discussion forums

We are also holding discussion forums to talk about the issues and options, and seek verbal feedback on the paper:

  • Perth: Tuesday 30 October, 1:30-4:30pm Register
  • Perth: Wednesday 31 October, 1:30-4:30pm Register
  • Melbourne: Friday 2 November, 1:30-4:30pm Register

If there is interest, we will consider running sessions or conducting bilateral meetings with stakeholders in other capital cities near major offshore oil and gas activities. To register your interest in a session in Adelaide or Darwin, please email by Friday, 26 October 2018.

Why we are consulting

We are seeking comments on some or all of the issues, opportunities, options and questions posed in this paper, as well as on any proposed potential enhancements to the decommissioning framework. This feedback will inform our awareness of the range of opportunities, issues and potential options to address them, as well as gauge levels of support for each.

Comments and submissions will be published on the department’s website unless you clearly indicate that you would like your comments to be treated as confidential when you make your submission.

What happens next

We have considered the comments and submissions on the discussion paper and views gathered during consultation sessions and meetings. These are helping to inform the revised decommissioning framework.

We plan to release and consult on a paper outlining the revised framework by the end of 2020.

We will communicate about progress on the decommissioning review  via the Australian Petroleum News newsletter. Please subscribe to stay up to date.


  • Universities
  • Offshore petroleum exploration and production companies
  • Governments and institutions
  • Local Governments in regions along the coast of the acreage release areas
  • Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) with an interest in environmental management and wildlife protection
  • Businesses
  • Interested members of the public
  • Australian Petroluem Production and Exploration Association and relevant state and territory department contacts
  • Peak bodies
  • Businesses who hold licenses and/or operate in or near to the areas proposed areas
  • Interested members of the public
  • Local governments in regions adjacent to the proposed acreage release areas
  • Peak industry bodies
  • Non-government organisations
  • Offshore Resources Branch
  • Companies particating in offshore oil and gas
  • State and Territory Government Agencies
  • Peak bodies
  • Offshore minerals industry


  • Production licences
  • Retention leases
  • Exploration leases
  • Resource security
  • Innovation
  • Reducing regulatory burden
  • Energy and natural resources
  • Offshore petroleum exploration acreage release
  • Offshore oil and gas exploration
  • Resources
  • Offshore petroleum exploration acreage release
  • Offshore oil and gas exploration
  • Oil and gas
  • Offshore exploration
  • Petroleum