Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Regulatory Powers and Other Measures) Bill 2014

Bill home page  


Download WordDownload Word


Download PDFDownload PDF

2013-2014

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

OFFSHORE PETROLEUM AND GREENHOUSE GAS STORAGE AMENDMENT (REGULATORY POWERS AND OTHER MEASURES) BILL 2014

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Industry,

the Honourable Ian Macfarlane, MP
)



OFFSHORE PETROLEUM AND GREENHOUSE GAS STORAGE AMENDMENT (REGULATORY POWERS AND OTHER MEASURES) BILL 2014

 

 

GENERAL OUTLINE

 

The purpose of the Bill is to make technical amendments to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Compliance Measures) Act 2013 (the Compliance Measures No. 1 Act), and to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (the OPGGS Act) as it will be amended by that Act and by the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Compliance Measures No. 2) Act 2013 (the Compliance Measures No. 2 Act), to ensure the effective commencement of pending amendments to the OPGGS Act relating to regulatory powers and enforcement measures. The Bill also inserts a regulation-making power into the OPGGS Act to provide for remittal and refund of annual titles administration levy in certain circumstances, and makes other minor policy and technical amendments to the OPGGS Act.

 

Regulatory Powers

The Compliance Measures No. 1 Act received Royal Assent on 14 March 2013. That Act includes amendments to the OPGGS Act to streamline monitoring and investigation powers in the offshore petroleum regulatory regime, increase certain criminal penalties, and introduce civil penalties for contraventions of various provisions. The Compliance Measures No. 2 Act received Royal Assent on 28 May 2013. That Act includes amendments to the OPGGS Act to introduce alternative enforcement mechanisms (infringement notices, injunctions, cumulative penalties for continuing offences, and adverse publicity orders) and introduce environment-related prohibition notices and improvement notices.

 

The amendments introduced by the two Compliance Measures Acts aim to strengthen the offshore petroleum regulatory regime in respect of compliance, safety, integrity and environmental management objectives, in the wake of incidents that have highlighted the importance of effective offshore petroleum industry regulations, such as the blowout at the Montara Wellhead Platform on 21 August 2009 off the northern coast of Western Australia, and the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon on 20 April 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico.

 

The amendments in the Compliance Measures Acts would have triggered standard provisions relating to monitoring powers, investigation powers, civil penalties, infringement notices and injunctions in what was the proposed Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2013 (the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013). The purpose of triggering the relevant provisions in the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013 was to ensure that the provisions did not need to be reproduced in the OPGGS Act, which would have increased the length of that Act and created duplication in Commonwealth legislation. Commencement of the relevant provisions in both Compliance Measures Acts was therefore linked to the commencement of the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013. The Bill for the proposed Act was introduced in 2012, prior to the introduction of the Compliance Measures No. 1 Act; however it had not passed through both Houses when Parliament was prorogued with the announcement of the 2013 election. A new Bill for the proposed Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014 was introduced into Parliament on 20 March 2014.

 

Amendments made by this Bill to the commencement provision in section 2 of the Compliance Measures No. 1 Act will link commencement of Schedules 1 and 2 to that Act to the commencement of the proposed Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014 . Commencement of the relevant provisions of the Compliance Measures No. 2 Act is linked to the commencement of Schedules 1 and 2 to the Compliance Measures No. 1 Act; these provisions will therefore also commence following commencement of the proposed Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014 .

 

Consequential amendments to the OPGGS Act, as it will be amended on commencement of the Compliance Measures Acts, will reflect changes in provision numbering in the proposed Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014 , compared to the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013, on the basis of which the original amendments were drafted. This will continue to ensure that the relevant standard provisions, now contained in the proposed Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014 , are triggered for use within the offshore petroleum regulatory regime.

 

The amendments in this Bill will enable the amendments of the OPGGS Act made by the Compliance Measures Acts to properly commence and thereby help to improve safety and environmental outcomes, and ensure that regulators have appropriate powers and enforcement mechanisms to encourage compliance in the offshore petroleum industry.

 

Regulation-making power - Refund and remittal of annual titles administration levy

The National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (the Titles Administrator) undertakes various functions under the OPGGS Act including titles administration, data and information management, and assisting and advising the Joint Authority and responsible Commonwealth Minister. The Titles Administrator’s functions are funded on a fully cost-recovered basis through fees and levies collected from the offshore petroleum industry, including annual titles administration levy imposed by the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies) Act 2003 (the Regulatory Levies Act).

 

Annual titles administration levy is imposed for each year of the term of a title, which is defined as a period of one year beginning on the day on which the title comes into force or any anniversary of that day. However, in certain circumstances, a title may remain in force for a period of less than one year. Although there may be less than 12 months remaining in the life of the term of a title, the Titles Administrator is still required to conduct administration activities, including data management and compliance, in relation to the title.

 

Concurrent amendments to the Regulatory Levies Act to be made by the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies) Amendment Bill 2014 will ensure that annual titles administration levy is imposed for a year of the term of a title, even if the title does not remain in force for the full year, to ensure the Titles Administrator is fully cost-recovered for its activities. This Bill makes related amendments to the OPGGS Act to insert a regulation-making power to provide for refund or remittal of all or part of an amount of annual titles administration levy, if the title ceases to be in force before the end of the year.

 

Other minor policy and technical amendments

The Bill also makes policy and technical amendments to the OPGGS Act to:

·          Remove the ability for the regulator to apply an infringement notice for a breach of the requirement to ensure that there is an operator’s representative present at a facility at all times when one or more individuals are present at the facility;

·          Amend section 343, relating to applications for a greenhouse gas holding lease by the holder of a petroleum retention lease, for consistency with similar provisions;

·          Remove the requirement to provide a copy of the application with an application for approval of a transfer, application for approval of a dealing, and provisional application for approval of a dealing;

·          Correct a missing subsection number and outdated references to ‘the Safety Authority’ in section 649.  

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

The Bill has no financial impact.



 

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

This Bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

 

Overview of the Bill

The Bill makes technical amendments to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Compliance Measures) Act 2013 (Compliance Measures No. 1 Act), and to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (the OPGGS Act) as it would be amended by that Act and by the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Compliance Measures No. 2) Act 2013 (Compliance Measures No. 2 Act), to enable the proper commencement of pending amendments to the OPGGS Act relating to regulatory powers and enforcement measures. The effect of the amendments will be to commence amendments to the OPGGS Act that are made by the Compliance Measures No. 1 Act and the Compliance Measures No. 2 Act which:

·          Streamline monitoring and investigation powers in the offshore petroleum regulatory regime;

·          Increase criminal penalties for certain OHS and environmental offences;

·          Introduce a civil penalty regime;

·          Introduce a range of alternative enforcement mechanisms (infringement notices, injunctions, cumulative penalties for continuing offences, and adverse publicity orders); and

·          Introduce environment-related prohibition notices and improvement notices.

 

The amendments made by the Compliance Measures Acts aim to strengthen the offshore petroleum regulatory regime in respect of compliance, safety, integrity and environmental management objectives, in the wake of incidents that have highlighted the importance of effective offshore petroleum industry regulations, such as the blowout at the Montara Wellhead Platform on 21 August 2009 off the northern coast of Western Australia, and the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon on 20 April 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico.

 

The Compliance Measures Acts, which received Royal Assent on 14 March 2013 and 28 May 2013 respectively, were drafted to trigger the application of standard provisions relating to monitoring powers, investigation powers, civil penalties, infringement notices and injunctions in what was the proposed Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2013 , and were therefore linked to commencement of that proposed Act. However, the Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Bill 2013 had not passed through both Houses when Parliament was prorogued with the announcement of the 2013 election. On 20 March 2014, the Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Bill 2014 was introduced into Parliament.

 

The amendments in this Bill will amend the commencement provisions in the Compliance Measures No. 1 Act to link to the commencement of the proposed Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014 . This will ensure that the relevant provisions of both Compliance Measures Acts can properly commence and continue to trigger the application of standard provisions now contained in the proposed Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014 . The Bill will also make consequential amendments to the OPGGS Act as it will be amended by the Compliance Measures Acts, to reflect differences in section numbering between the proposed Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014 and the proposed Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2013 , on the basis of which the amendments were originally drafted.  

 

The Bill also makes other minor policy and technical amendments to the OPGGS Act which will:

·          Remove the ability for the regulator to apply an infringement notice for a breach of the requirement to ensure that there is an operator’s representative present at a facility at all times when one or more individuals are present at the facility;

·          Insert a regulation-making power to provide for refund and remittal of annual titles administration levy in certain circumstances;

·          Amend section 343, relating to applications for a greenhouse gas holding lease by the holder of a petroleum retention lease, for consistency with similar provisions;

·          Remove the requirement to provide a copy of the application with an application for approval of a transfer, application for approval of a dealing, and provisional application for approval of a dealing;

·          Correct a missing subsection number and outdated references to ‘the Safety Authority’ in section 649.  

 

Human rights implications

The amendment made by this Bill that will remove the ability for the regulator to apply an infringement notice for a breach of the requirement to ensure that there is an operator’s representative present at a facility at all times when one or more individuals are present at the facility promotes the right to a fair and public hearing in article 14 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. Article 14 ensures that everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law. The right may be subject to permissible limitations where those limitations are provided by law and non-arbitrary. In order for limitations not to be arbitrary, they must be aimed at a legitimate objective and be reasonable, necessary and proportionate to that objective.

 

One such permissible limitation may be application of an infringement notice, where the application aims to achieve a legitimate objective and is reasonable, necessary and proportionate to that objective. In accordance with the principles in the Guide to Framing Commonwealth Offences, Infringement Notices and Enforcement Powers , infringement notices should be applied in relation to minor offences only. It is appropriate that more serious offences should be prosecuted in court.

 

The requirement to ensure that there is an operator’s representative present at a facility at all times when one or more individuals are present at the facility aims to provide that, whenever a facility is attended, there is a person present who is in management or control, in particular in case there is an incident or other event that creates a risk to the health and safety of persons at the facility. As the requirement is designed to safeguard the health and safety of persons at the facility, breach of the requirement is a serious offence that could place the health and safety of those persons at risk. Given the serious nature of the requirement it is not, in retrospect, considered appropriate to apply an infringement notice in relation to a breach of this provision. The ability to apply an infringement notice will therefore be removed by this Bill.

 

The remaining amendments in this Bill do not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms. The amendments relating to regulatory powers in Schedule 1 to the Bill are technical in nature, the purpose and effect of which are to commence the Compliance Measures Acts and make consequential changes to provision numbering. The amendments therefore do not themselves have any human rights implications as they merely commence the Compliance Measures Acts, the human rights implications of which have already been outlined in the Statements of Compatibility attached to those Acts.   

 

Conclusion

This Bill is compatible with human rights. One of the amendments made by the Bill advances the protection of the right to a fair and public hearing; the remaining amendments do not raise any human rights issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



NOTES ON INDIVIDUAL CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 - Short title

 

Clause 1 is a formal provision specifying the short title of the Act.

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

Royal Assent

 

Sections 1 to 3 of the Bill, Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Bill, and Schedule 2 (items 1 to 6 and 12 and 13) to the Bill will commence on the day after the Act receives Royal Assent.

 

Link to commencement of Regulatory Powers Act 2014

 

Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Bill amends the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Compliance Measures) Act 2013 (the Compliance Measures No. 1 Act) to provide for Schedules 1 and 2 to that Act to commence immediately after commencement of the proposed Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014 (the Regulatory Powers Act 2014). Schedules 1 and 2 to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Compliance Measures No. 2) Act 2013 (the Compliance Measures No. 2 Act) will then commence immediately after the commencement of Schedules 1 and 2 to the Compliance Measures No. 1 Act.

 

On commencement, the Compliance Measures Acts will make amendments to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (the OPGGS Act). Part 2 of Schedule 1 to this Bill amends the OPGGS Act as it will be amended by the Compliance Measures Acts. This clause therefore provides for Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Bill to commence immediately after the commencement of Schedule 1 to the Compliance Measures No. 2 Act, which is the latest of the amendments to the OPGGS Act made by the Compliance Measures Acts to commence.

 

However, Part 2 of Schedule 1 will not commence at all if the Compliance Measures No. 2 Act does not commence. That Act would not commence if the Regulatory Powers Act 2014 does not commence. 

 

Link to commencement of Regulatory Powers Act 2014

 

Commencement of the remainder of items - Schedule 2, items 7 to 11 and 14 - is triggered by commencement of items 1 and 2 of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies) Amendment Act 2014. This is because they are consequential amendments to the amendments contained in the latter Act. These items would not commence if the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies) Amendment Act 2014 does not commence. 

 

Clause 3 - Schedule(s)

 

This clause gives effect to the provisions in the Schedules to this Act.

 

 

Schedule 1 - Regulatory powers technical amendments

 

Part 1 - Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Compliance Measures) Act 2013

 

Item 1 - Subsection 2(1) (table items 2 and 3, column 2, paragraph (b))

This item will provide for Schedule 1 to the Compliance Measures No. 1 Act to commence immediately after the commencement of Parts 2 and 3 of the Regulatory Powers Act 2014, and for Schedule 2 to the Compliance Measures No. 1 Act to commence immediately after the commencement of Part 4 of the Regulatory Powers Act 2014. Schedule 1 to the Compliance Measures No. 1 Act will amend the OPGGS Act to streamline and clarify monitoring and investigation powers of the national offshore petroleum regulator, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA). Schedule 2 to the Compliance Measures No. 1 Act will amend the OPGGS Act to increase penalties for certain OHS and environmental offences under that Act, and introduce a civil penalty regime.

 

Currently, commencement of these Schedules is linked to commencement of what was the proposed Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2013 (the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013). However, the Bill for that proposed Act did not pass through both Houses before Parliament was prorogued with the announcement of the 2013 election. A new Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Bill 2014 was introduced into Parliament on 20 March 2014. The amendment made by this item will ensure that the Schedules can effectively commence following the commencement of the Regulatory Powers Act 2014.

 

Schedule 1 to the Compliance Measures No. 2 Act, which amends the OPGGS Act to provide for alternative enforcement mechanisms within the offshore petroleum regulatory regime, will commence immediately after commencement of Schedule 2 to the Compliance Measures No. 1 Act. Schedule 2 to the Compliance Measures No. 2 Act, which amends the OPGGS Act to introduce environmental prohibition and improvement notices, will commence immediately after the commencement of Schedule 1 to the Compliance Measures No. 1 Act.

 

Item 2 - Part 1 of Schedule 1 (heading)

This item amends the heading to Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Compliance Measures No. 1 Act, to reflect that the amendments to the OPGGS Act made by that Act will now trigger the Regulatory Powers Act 2014, rather than the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013.

 

Item 3 - Item 154 of Schedule 1 (definition of Regulatory Powers Act )

This item repeals the definition of “Regulatory Powers Act”. The definition was originally included for the purposes of the transitional, application and savings provisions in Part 5 of Schedule 1 to the Compliance Measures No. 1 Act, however given the reference to Regulatory Powers Act was omitted throughout the latter stages of the drafting process the definition is no longer required.

 

Part 2 - Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006

 

This Part amends the OPGGS Act as it will be amended by the Compliance Measures No. 1 Act and the Compliance Measures No. 2 Act, to reflect changes in numbering between the Regulatory Powers Act 2014 and the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013, on the basis of which the amendments were originally drafted.

 

This Part also amends the OPGGS Act to remove the ability for the regulator to apply an infringement notice for a breach of the requirement to ensure that there is an operator’s representative present at a facility at all times when one or more individuals are present at the facility.

 

Item 4 - Section 7 (definition of Regulatory Powers Act )

This item amends the definition of “Regulatory Powers Act”, for the purposes of the OPGGS Act, to mean the Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014 , rather than the Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2013 . This will ensure that provisions in the OPGGS Act that trigger or refer to the “Regulatory Powers Act” will correctly trigger or refer to the Regulatory Powers Act 2014.

 

Item 5 - Subsection 602C(1) (note 1)

This item removes the reference to section 20 of the Regulatory Powers Act 2014 in note 1 to subsection 602C(1), to reflect a change in numbering between that Act and the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013. A new section reference has not been included, as the note already refers to Part 2 of the Regulatory Powers Act, which provides sufficient information for the reader.

 

Item 6 - Section 602C(2) (note)

This item removes the reference to section 20 of the Regulatory Powers Act 2014 in the note to subsection 602C(2), to reflect a change in numbering between that Act and the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013. A new section reference has not been included, as the note already refers to Part 2 of the Regulatory Powers Act, which provides sufficient information for the reader.

 

Item 7 - Subsection 602D(1) (note 1)

This item removes the reference to section 50 of the Regulatory Powers Act 2014 in note 1 to subsection 602D(1), to reflect a change in numbering between that Act and the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013. A new section reference has not been included, as the note already refers to Part 3 of the Regulatory Powers Act, which provides sufficient information for the reader.

 

Item 8 - Subsection 602G(2)

This item replaces the reference to ‘section 32 or 64 of the Regulatory Powers Act’ in subsection 602G(2) with a reference to ‘section 31 or 63 of the Regulatory Powers Act’, to reflect a change in numbering between the Regulatory Powers Act 2014 and the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013.

 

Item 9 - Subparagraph 602G(2)(a)(ii)

This item replaces the reference to ‘section 24 or 54 of the Regulatory Powers Act’ in subparagraph 602G(2)(a)(ii) with a reference to ‘section 23 or 53 of the Regulatory Powers Act’, to reflect a change in numbering between the Regulatory Powers Act 2014 and the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013.

 

Item 10 - Subsection 602G(2) (note)

This item replaces the reference to ‘sections 24 and 54 of the Regulatory Powers Act’ in the note to subsection 602G(2) with a reference to ‘sections 23 and 53 of the Regulatory Powers Act’, to reflect a change in numbering between the Regulatory Powers Act 2014 and the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013.

 

Item 11 - Paragraph 611E(1)(i)

This item amends paragraph 611E(1)(i) of the OPGGS Act to remove the ability for the regulator to apply an infringement notice for a breach of the requirement in subclause 6(1) of Schedule 3 to the Act to ensure that there is an operator’s representative present at a facility at all times when one or more individuals are present at the facility.

 

On commencement, Schedule 1 to the Compliance Measures No. 2 Act will amend the OPGGS Act to provide for certain offence provisions under that Act to be subject to an infringement notice. One of the provisions for which an infringement notice will be able to be applied is subclause 6(3) of Schedule 3 to the OPGGS Act, which provides that a person commits an offence if they are subject to a requirement under subclause 6(1) or (2) and fail to comply with that requirement.

 

Subclause 6(1) of Schedule 3 requires an operator of a facility to ensure that, at all times when one or more individuals are present at the facility, there is also present an operator’s representative at the facility who has day-to-day management and control of operations at the facility. The requirement aims to provide that, whenever a facility is attended, there is a person present who is in management or control, in particular in case there is an incident or other event that creates a risk to the health and safety of persons at the facility. As the requirement is designed to safeguard the health and safety of persons at the facility, breach of the requirement is a serious offence that could place the health and safety of those persons at risk.

 

In accordance with the principles in the Guide to Framing Commonwealth Offences, Infringement Notices and Enforcement Powers , infringement notices were only intended to be applied in relation to minor offences with strict liability. It is appropriate that more serious offences should be prosecuted in court, and are not suitable for inclusion in an infringement notice scheme. However, an infringement notice was inadvertently applied in relation to a breach of subclause 6(1) of Schedule 3. This item therefore amends the OPGGS Act, as it will be amended by the Compliance Measures No. 2 Act, to remove the ability to apply an infringement notice for a breach of subclause 6(1).

 

The regulator will still have the ability to apply an infringement notice in relation to a breach of subclause 6(2) of Schedule 3 to the OPGGS Act, which requires an operator of a facility to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that the name of the operator’s representative at the facility is displayed in a prominent place at the facility. It is appropriate to continue to apply an infringement notice for a breach of this requirement, as it is a relatively minor offence.

 

Item 12 - Subsection 611E(4)

This item replaces the reference to ‘paragraph 108(1)(j) of the Regulatory Powers Act’ in subsection 611E(4) with a reference to ‘paragraph 104(1)(j) of the Regulatory Powers Act’, to reflect a change in numbering between the Regulatory Powers Act 2014 and the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013.

 

 

 

Item 13 - Subsection 611E(6)

This item replaces the reference to ‘subsection 107(3) of the Regulatory Powers Act’ in subsection 611E(6) with a reference to ‘subsection 103(3) of the Regulatory Powers Act’, to reflect a change in numbering between the Regulatory Powers Act 2014 and the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013.

 

Item 14 - Section 611F

This item replaces references to subsections 107(3) and (4) of the Regulatory Powers Act in section 611F with references to subsections 103(3) and (4) of the Regulatory Powers Act, to reflect a change in numbering between the Regulatory Powers Act 2014 and the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013.

 

Item 15 - Paragraphs 611G(1)(a) and (2)(a)

This item replaces the reference to ‘section 109 of the Regulatory Powers Act’ in paragraphs 611G(1)(a) and (2)(a) with a reference to ‘section 105 of the Regulatory Powers Act’, to reflect a change in numbering between the Regulatory Powers Act 2014 and the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013.

 

Item 16 - Subsection 611J(4)

This item replaces the reference to section 127 of the Regulatory Powers Act in subsection 611J(4) with a reference to section 121, to reflect a change in numbering between the Regulatory Powers Act 2014 and the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013.

 

Item 17 - Paragraph 780F(8A)(a)

This item replaces references to subsections 36(6) and 77(6) of the Regulatory Powers Act in paragraph 780F(8A)(a) with references to subsections 35(6) and 76(6) of the Regulatory Powers Act, to reflect a change in numbering between the Regulatory Powers Act 2014 and the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013.

 

Item 18 - Amendments of listed provisions - references to section 93 of the Regulatory Powers Act

This item amends the notes to various provisions of the OPGGS Act to replace references to ‘section 96 of the Regulatory Powers Act’ with references to ‘section 93 of the Regulatory Powers Act’, to reflect a change in numbering between the Regulatory Powers Act 2014 and the proposed Regulatory Powers Act 2013.

 

Schedule 2 - Other measures

 

Part 1 - Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006

 

Item 1 - Subsection 343(1)

There has been a technical inconsistency identified betw een greenhouse gas (GHG) storage provisions under sections 324, 343, 361 and 369 of the OPGGS Act.

 

There are only two places in the OPGGS Act where a petroleum titleholder can, under certain conditions, apply directly for a GHG title within their petroleum title area without having to compete in an open GHG acreage release. These two provisions are sections 343 and 369. 

 

Subsections 369(2)-(6) provide that an application for a GHG injection licence by the holder of a petroleum production licence cannot be granted if there is already an existing GHG title over the area, i.e. it is not a vacant GHG acreage. However, section 343 lacks the explicit condition that the block(s) cannot already be held under a GHG title.

 

In addition, sections 324, 361 and 369 all include subsections dealing with the location of single and multiple GHG storage formations, subsections (2)-(6) in each case. Existing section 343 does not include these subsections.

 

To address to identified inconsistency, this item repeals existing subsection 343(1) to substitute with new subsections (1), (1A), (1B), (1C), (1D), (1E) to include the explicit condition that a GHG holding lease can only be applied for by a petroleum retention lease titleholder if the block(s) are not already under a GHG title and to include provisions dealing with single and multiple GHG storage formations.

 

Item 2 and 3 - Paragraphs 474(d), 489(4A)(a) and 499(4A)(a)

These items amend the transfer and dealings applications provision to reflect that while the Titles Administrator stills needs a copy of the instrument evidencing the dealing and supplementary instrument as these are the legal documents which must be registered for the purposes of the Act, the items remove some requirements to provide copies which are now considered unnecessary for the assessment of applications. Specifically, the requirement for extra copies of the application form and technical/financial information are now unnecessary as these are no longer used. 

 

The original documents provided are legal instrument (contracts, deeds).  In order to retain document security it is necessary for the applicant to provide the Titles Administrator with a copy of these documents. This removes the risk of any original legal documents being damaged when being unbound or photocopied.  Similarly, in relation to the copy of supplementary instrument it is preferable, for consistency, that the obligation of a providing a copy of all the documents which are required to be registered is retained at this time.

 

Item 4 - Section 649 (heading)

This item amends the heading to section 649 of the OPGGS Act, to indicate more clearly the content of the section to readers of the Act.

 

Item 5 - Section 649

This item corrects a technical error in the OPGGS Act by inserting a missing subsection number at the start of subsection 649(1).

 

Item 6 - Subsection 649(2)

This item replaces outdated references to ‘the Safety Authority’ in subsection 649(2) with references to ‘NOPSEMA’.

 

On 1 January 2012, amendments to the OPGGS Act made by the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (National Regulator) Act 2011 (the National Regulator Amendment Act) came into force which, among other things, expanded the functions of the former National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority. To reflect its expanded functions, the name of the Authority was changed by the National Regulator Amendment Act to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority. As a consequence of the change, the Authority is now referred to throughout the OPGGS Act as ‘NOPSEMA’ (‘NOPSEMA’ is defined in section 7 of the OPGGS Act to mean the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority). References to ‘the Safety Authority’ in the OPGGS Act were intended to be amended to instead refer to ‘NOPSEMA’; however the references to ‘the Safety Authority’ in subsection 649(2) were accidentally omitted in the National Regulator Amendment Act. This item corrects the error.

 

Item 7 - Subsection 695M(1)

This item omits the reference to the ‘term’ of the title to eliminate any ambiguity as to whether an annual titles administration levy can be imposed on time extending beyond the original term of the title.

 

Item 11 - Subsection 695M(2) and (3)

This item repeals the existing subsections dealing with when an annual titles administration levy becomes due and payable and the associated heading, substituting 2 new subsections with associated headings.

 

New subsection 695M(2) states that annual titles administration levy becomes due and payable 30 days after the first day of the year for which the levy is imposed - for the same reason as described in item 7 above removing reference to the ‘term’ of the title.

 

New subsection 695M(3) provides a regulation-making power to allow regulations to be made to prescribe circumstances in which remittal or refund of part or all of an annual titles administration levy would occur if the title in question wholly or partly ceased to be in force during the year in relation to which the levy had been imposed. As indicated in the commencement provisions of this Bill, this subsection related to amendments in the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies) Amendment Bill 2014 which ensure that annual titles administration levy is imposed in relation to a year where it is anticipated that the title will or may cease before the end of the year in question.  The OPGGS Act provides for a number of circumstances where a title may remain in force for an additional period, such as the continuation in force of a title where an application has been made for a renewal of the title or for the grant of a successor title, and where the length of the period bears no relation to a year.

 

Part 2 - Application of amendments

 

Item 12 - Application - definition

This item defines ‘Offshore Act’ for the purposes of Part 2 of this Act.

 

Item 13- Application - greenhouse gas holding leases applied for by petroleum retention lessees

This item provides for the amendment made to section 343 by this Part to apply in relation to applications for a greenhouse gas holding lease that is made by a petroleum retention lessee made on or after the commencement of the amendment, i.e. from the day after Royal Assent.

 

Item 14 - Application - annual titles administration levy

This item provides for the amendments made to section 695M by this Part to apply in relation to annual titles administration levy imposed by the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies) Act 2003 on or after the commencement of the amendment, i.e. commencing at the same time as Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies) Amendment Act 2014 .