In March 2018, the Barossa Area Development Offshore Project Proposal (OPP) received environmental acceptance from the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority (NOPSEMA), after incorporating comments received during an 8-week public comment period.

An accepted OPP is required in accordance with the Australian government’s environmental assessment process for any new petroleum project in Commonwealth waters. It is prepared during a project’s early design phase and considers all potential environmental impacts and risks over the project’s life-cycle.

Acceptance of an OPP by NOPSEMA provides approval of the development concept design and key development assumptions. Acceptance also provides approval for the subsequent submission of separate Environment Plans (EPs) for project activities to NOPSEMA for assessment and acceptance.

The activity specific EPs, including corresponding Oil Pollution Emergency Plans (OPEPs), are required to be submitted to and accepted by NOPSEMA before project activities can commence. EPs provide detailed evaluation of the impacts and risks associated with specific activities, while the OPEPs detail arrangements for responding to and monitoring oil pollution. A series of EPs will be developed to cover the following project activities:

  • development drilling;
  • subsea structure installation (including gas export pipeline installation);
  • tow-out and hook up of the FPSO facility;
  • commissioning;
  • operations; and
  • decommissioning

Other approvals and plans that will be required include production, pipeline and infrastructure licenses, Safety Cases for vessels and operations and management plans for well operations. Assuming all the required approvals are in place, offshore development work would commence with the drilling of development wells. Consultation with all stakeholders will continue during preparation of each EP.