Following three years of monitoring and close consultation with Montara field developers PTTEP Australasia, Australian Resources Minister Gary Gray has announced the deed of agreement between the Government and company has been concluded.
The Montara field development has been subject to the deed since 2011, following the 2009 Montara oil and gas leak – the first major loss of well control in 25 years of safe offshore petroleum operations.
In 2010 PTTEP AA developed the Montara Action Plan (MAP), which detailed the changes that had to occur for the company to meet industry best practice standards. The Government sought independent review of the MAP and, in 2011, entered into the deed of agreement to ensure the MAP was implemented in full.
“The company has successfully implemented the Montara Action Plan and has met its obligations under the deed,” Gray said.
“The company has improved its systems, processes and culture, to ensure these changes are sustainable, and has taken an industry lead in developing new and innovative techniques for ensuring safe operations.”
A final review of the MAP in May 2013 concluded that the company had ‘made a transformation in all aspects of its business… is a very different company and one that exhibits both good oilfield and corporate practice’.
“The Montara incident in 2009 was a wake-up call for industry and government,” Gray said.
“We need to make Australia’s oil and gas exploration and production operations the best and safest in the world and it is the collective responsibility of industry and government to make sure that we reach this goal.
“Since the Montara incident, the Government has implemented significant reforms.”
Two bills passed earlier this year amend the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 to include the introduction of a civil penalty regime, among others. The amendments to the Act also increased the criminal penalties that apply for breaches of certain OHS and environmental provisions, consistent with major hazard industry legislation.
The Government will continue to have oversight of the company’s operations through the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority, as it does for all petroleum operations.