Offshore oil and gas decommissioning framework - initial review

Closed 31 Jan 2019

Opened 5 Oct 2018


Decommissioning Review

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 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. Read more about the decommissioning review aims and process

Discussion Paper

As an important first step in the review and to stimulate discussion on the decommissioning framework, we have released a discussion paper that outlines:

Why We Are Consulting

At this stage 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. This will inform the due consideration and development of a revised framework.

Comments and submissions will be published on the department’s website unless, on submission, you clearly indicate that you would like your comments to be treated as confidential. We strongly encourage comments and submissions that can be made public, so that transparent and evidence based policy decisions can be made.

For your convenience, a summary of the issues, opportunities, options and questions outlined in the Discussion Paper is provided.

Discussion Forums

We are also holding discussion forums in late October and early November 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

Please register by Friday, 26 October 2018.

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

What Happens Next

We are now considering the comments and submissions provided on the Discussion Paper.

These comments and submissions, together with views gathered during consultation sessions and meetings, will help inform the development of an Implementation Paper, which will outline proposed actions to enhance the decommissioning framework. We plan to release and consult on the Implementation Paper in late 2019.

Further information on the decommissioning review will be communicated via the Australian Petroleum News newsletter. Please subscribe to be kept 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