Tough seas forward for offshore power regardless of demand growth


In 2014, NOPSEMA turned accountable for administering the federal Atmosphere Safety and Biodiversity Conservation Act in Commonwealth waters. The Act explicitly contains Indigenous heritage worth as a part of the atmosphere to be protected.

The Act additionally requires the consideration of oblique penalties of any proposal, and lately that has been interpreted as together with the carbon emissions produced by the shoppers of an oil or fuel undertaking.

Consideration of so-called Scope 3 emissions that dwarf the already large direct carbon air pollution from LNG tasks is now a paramount concern.

In February Coalition sources minister Keith Pitt wrote to Smith setting out his expectations that the unbiased regulator ignore Scope 3 emissions and contemplate the “financial and industrial atmosphere” when making choices about security and the atmosphere.

NOPSEMA didn’t reply to Pitt earlier than the election, however Smith is obvious about his place.

“We are going to apply the legislation firstly, the legislation goes to override a ministerial expectation,” he mentioned.

The offshore trade, which incorporates smaller tasks and ExxonMobil’s Bass Strait property in addition to the LNG exporters, has extra to fret about than a repeat of the Barossa resolution placing out approval for an atmosphere plan wanted to construct a brand new undertaking.

Each offshore undertaking additionally wants an atmosphere plan to function, so authorized motion citing lack of session that would threaten present manufacturing can’t be dominated out.

Initiatives underneath building – Santos’ Barossa and Woodside’s $17.6 billion Scarborough – have further issues past whether or not they have consulted broadly sufficient.


Each have high-level offshore undertaking proposals (OPP) accepted by NOPSEMA, however that’s no assure that subsequent extra detailed atmosphere plans required earlier than any offshore exercise occur might be accepted.

“You may get an offshore undertaking proposal based mostly on one set of science, which is likely to be overtaken by new science going ahead,” Smith warned.

Barossa’s undertaking proposal is sort of 5 years outdated, whereas Woodside’s Scarborough plan was accepted in April 2020. Since then, the case for a faster phase-out of fuel has strengthened, which might have an effect on NOPSEMA’s evaluation of Scope 3 emissions.

The Worldwide Power Company referred to as for no fuel tasks in 2021, and a serious Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change report in April referred to as for vital emissions reductions this decade.

And what if the fuel corporations begin screaming ‘regulatory danger’ resulting from shifting goalposts?


“They perceive the system after they begin,” Smith mentioned. “In the event that they don’t know, then they’re not being nicely suggested by their workers.”

NOPSEMA’s consideration of Indigenous heritage and oblique penalties might fear Woodside resulting from issues that emissions from the Pluto LNG plant the place fuel from Scarborough might be processed could injury the adjoining historical Murujuga rock artwork.

Smith mentioned the regulator would have a look at the newest scientific research.

“A few of them will say the rock artwork is being eroded quicker due to better emissions, and others will say it isn’t,” he mentioned.

“We’ll do an evaluation and kind a choice.”

For the reason that Scarborough OPP was accepted scientists led by College of WA Professor of world rock artwork Benjamin Smith have revealed two peer-reviewed papers concluding industrial emissions are damaging the rock artwork. Nonetheless, one different research reached the other conclusion.

Revised atmosphere plans for tasks in manufacturing have to be revised each 5 years and submitted to NOPSEMA for acceptance, so no tasks can escape evaluation in opposition to the newest science.

Smith mentioned this might generally work within the trade’s favour if for instance analysis on the environmental advantages of outdated infrastructure as synthetic reefs might justify costly elimination when manufacturing ends not being required.

Smith, who will go away NOPSEMA in February, mentioned the problem for the trade was to handle these new points with out “dropping the ball” on security and the atmosphere, inflicting a serious accident occasion – trade parlance for one thing that kills a number of employees.

The Enterprise Briefing publication delivers main tales, unique protection and skilled opinion. Signal as much as get it each weekday morning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.