Review of Part 5 of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Resource Management and Administration) Regulations 2011

The exploration and production of hydrocarbons from under the seabed is susceptible to rare but potentially serious incidents. The blowout of hydrocarbons from a well in the Montara offshore oil and gas field in the Timor Sea in 2009 was one such example. This incident and the subsequent inquiry, the Montara Commission of Inquiry, in addition to the need to periodically review the regulatory system for controlling the inherent risks of oil and gas exploration and development, led to the review of Part 5 of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Resource Management and Administration) Regulations 2011 (Wells Regulations). The Wells Regulations represent one part of the Australian regulatory system for offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas storage.


The objective of the review was to ensure the regulation of the integrity of offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas storage wells and well activities in Australian waters reflects leading practice, objectives-based regulation.

Key documents

Amended Wells Regulations

The review resulted in a number of amendments to the Wells Regulations, which were approved the Federal Executive Council on 3 September 2015. The new Regulations and the accompanying Explanatory Statement can be accessed on the ComLaw website. To assist in the transition to the new Regulations, there will be a delayed commencement period, with the amended Regulations to come into effect on 1 January 2016. The delayed commencement will allow titleholders additional time to understand and prepare to comply with the new requirements.

A two year transition period will commence from 1 January 2016, during which titleholders will be required to submit a proposed revision of their Well Operations Management Plans in accordance with requirements under the new Wells Regulations.

Public Consultation

In developing the amended Wells Regulations, public consultation was invited on an Issues Paper, Policy Framework and the Exposure Draft of the Regulations

Policy Framework

In November 2014 the Policy Framework was made available for public comment. It articulated the Australian Government’s position and desired policy outcomes for the regulation of offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas storage wells. It was developed in consideration of the Issues Paper and submissions received (refer below) and forms the basis of amendments to the Wells Regulations.

Issues paper

Public information and consultation sessions on the Review and Issues Paper were held in Perth and Melbourne in February 2014. Following these consultations, stakeholders were invited to make written submissions on the Issues Paper.

More information

For more information about the review of the Wells Regulations please contact:

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