Petroleum resource management, administration regulations and guidelines

Resource Management and Administration Regulations 2015

Drill pipe in the stand next to the derrick
Drill pipe in the stand next to the derrick

Two sets of Resource Management and Administration Regulations for petroleum and geothermal activities commenced on 1 July 2015.

The regulations are the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources (Resource Management and Administration) Regulations 2015 (the ‘onshore’ regulations) and the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Resource Management and Administration) Regulations 2015. Copies are available on the State Law Publisher website.

The ‘onshore’ resource management regulations were released by the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) for stakeholder comment on 5 February 2014 with a closing date for comments of 30 May 2014. During the consultation period numerous presentations on the draft regulations were given to stakeholders. All comments received during the extensive consultation period have been compiled into a response paper titled “Responses to External Stakeholder Comments on Regulations and Guidelines” which is provided below.

The second part of this set of regulations, the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Resource Management and Administration) Regulations 2014, cover submerged lands adjacent to the coast of WA and were drafted following the review of public and stakeholder consultation comments for onshore regulations. A draft of these Regulations was referred to relevant petroleum titleholders for information in May 2015.

These two sets of regulations provide a risk-based management scheme for the exploration for, and production of, petroleum and, for the onshore regulations, geothermal energy resources. A range of resource management and administration matters, are covered by the regulations, including well management plans for the approval of all drilling activities (including shale and tight gas), notification and reporting of discovery of petroleum; field management plans and approval of petroleum recovery.

The regulations ensure that adequate information will be provided about all aspects of exploration, discovery, development and production operations in relation to petroleum and geothermal energy resources. They also outline confidentiality periods applicable to information submitted by title holders. This information ensures that petroleum and geothermal energy resources operations are carried out in a proper manner.

In the case of operations relating to the exploration or recovery of petroleum, they also ensure work is conducted in accordance with good oilfield practice, carried out in a way that reduces the risk of aquifer contamination and compatible with optimum long-term recovery of petroleum and geothermal energy resources. This also supports the safe and efficient management of the resources and assists with optimising long-term benefits to Western Australian community.

Aerial view of a well pad with drilling rig and evaporation sump in the northern Perth Basin (courtesy ARC Energy Ltd)
Aerial view of a well pad with drilling rig and evaporation sump in the northern Perth Basin (courtesy ARC Energy Ltd)

The two sets of Resource Management and Administration Regulations will form the third and final part of the suite of petroleum and geothermal regulations. This commenced in 2007 with four submerged lands area safety regulations commencing:

  • Petroleum (Submerged Lands)(Management of Safety on Offshore Facilities) Regulations 2007
  • Petroleum (Submerged Lands)(Occupational Safety and Health) Regulations 2007
  • Petroleum (Submerged Lands)(Pipelines) Regulations 2007
  • Petroleum (Submerged Lands)(Diving Safety) Regulations 2007

The second phase of safety regulations commenced in 2010 with the following four onshore safety regulations:

  • Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources (Management of Safety) Regulations 2010
  • Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources (Occupational Safety and Health) Regulations 2010
  • Petroleum Pipelines(Management of Safety of Pipeline Operations) Regulations 2010
  • Petroleum Pipelines (Occupational Safety and Health) Regulations 2010

Lastly, in 2012 the following three environment regulations commenced:

  • Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources (Environment) Regulations 2012
  • Petroleum (Submerged Lands)(Environment) Regulations 2012
  • Petroleum Pipelines(Environment) Regulations 2012

The completion of this final part of Regulations enabled the revocation of the three Schedules that were previously served on titleholders by way of a ministerial direction. These Schedules were the:

  • Schedule of Onshore Petroleum Exploration and Production Requirements – 1991
  • Schedule of Specific Requirements as to Petroleum Exploration and Production Western Australian Coastal Waters 2007

Concordance tables, showing where the clauses from these Schedule are now in Regulation or if no longer required, have been prepared and are provided below.

The commencement of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Resource Management and Administration) Regulations 2015 also repealed the former Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Management of Well Operations) Regulations 2006.

Transitional provisions in both Regulations allow for:

  • existing Surveys that were approved and undertaken prior to the commencement of the Regulations to continue without needing further approval under the regulations
  • titleholders undertaking Well Activities approved prior to the commencement of the Regulations to have 12 months from 1 July 2015 to submit an application for a Well Management Plan
  • petroleum licensees undertaking petroleum recovery operations approved prior to the commencement of the Regulations to have 12 months from 1 July 2015 to submit an application for approval under regulation 43(1) or an application for an approval to recover petroleum without a Field Management Plan under regulation 58(1).

Comprehensive guidelines covering both sets of regulations have been developed and are also provided below

Related information

Guidelines to Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources (Resource Management and Administration) Regulations 2015 - 1244 Kb

Guidelines to Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources (Resource Management and Administration) Regulations 2015 and Petroleum (Submerged Lands) (Resource Management and Administration) Regulations 2015

Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources (Resource Management and Administration) Regulations 2015 - 1909 Kb

Report on Responses to External Comments on Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Regulations

Concordance Table Schedule Of Onshore Petroleum Exploration And Production Requirements 1991 - 286 Kb

Table showing Onshore Petroleum Exploration And Production Requirements

Concordance Table Schedule Specific Requirements As To Petroleum Exploration And Production Western Australian Coastal Waters 2007 - 104 Kb

Table detailing requirements forP etroleum Exploration And Production in Western Australian Coastal Waters