On 1 January 2012, NOPTA was established as a branch of the Resources Division in the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (RET).

On 18 September 2013, the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism was abolished and its functions transferred to the Department of Industry.

NOPTA is a statutory position (not an independent agency).

NOPTA's key function in Commonwealth waters is to:

  • provide information, assessments, analysis, reports, advice and recommendations to members of the Joint Authorities and the 'responsible Commonwealth Minister' in relation to the performance of those ministers' functions and the exercise of their powers
  • manage the collection, management and release of data, titles administration, approval and registration of transfers and dealings
  • oversee the keeping of the registers of petroleum and greenhouse gas storage titles.

States and the Northern Territory (NT) maintain a titles administrator role in state/NT waters.

NOPTA's offices are in Perth and Melbourne.

Why was NOPTA established?

The Productivity Commission (PC) 'Review of Regulatory Burden on the Upstream Petroleum (Oil & Gas) Sector' (April 2009) identified significant unnecessary regulatory burden on the sector.

The PC Review made 30 recommendations including the establishment of a national offshore petroleum regulator in Commonwealth waters and the implementation of regulatory best practice.

The Varanus Island gas pipeline explosion in 2008 and the uncontrolled release of oil and gas from the Montara Wellhead Platform in 2009 also highlighted inadequacies in the offshore petroleum regulatory regime.

Of particular concern was a shortage of technical staff with the necessary qualifications, skills and experience in the Designated Authorities’ departments.

There was also a perceived lack of independence of staff with responsibility for regulatory oversight of well integrity and environmental management, located as they were in the State and Northern Territory departments that were responsible for resource development.

The June 2010 'Report of the Montara Commission of Inquiry' recommended that the PC’s proposal to establish a national offshore petroleum regulator should be pursued at a minimum.

The Montara Commission recommended that a single, independent regulatory body should be created, looking after safety as a primary objective, along with well integrity and environmental approvals.

Industry policy and resource development and promotion activities should continue to reside in government departments and not with the independent regulatory agency.

Following extensive consultation with jurisdictions, industry and the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority (NOPSEMA), the amendments in the National Regulator Bill will implement the institutional reforms arising from the PC Review and the Montara Commission of Inquiry.

Reform of the sector is a priority of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG)’s National Partnership Agreement to Deliver a Seamless National Economy.

Minister for Industry

On 18 September 2013, a new ministry was established and the Minister for Industry was sworn in. Information on the Minister for Industry is available on the Parliament of Australia website:

Offshore Resources Branch (ORB)

The key function of the Offshore Resources Branch (ORB), Resources Division is to advise and support the Minister for Industry, portfolio agencies and the Executive with timely and accurate policy advice on domestic and international offshore resources issues.

Related documents

Document PDF Other
NOPTA corporate plan—2015-2017 PDF 2MB DOCX 2MB
NOPTA organisational structure—as at April 2015 PDF 56 kB DOCX 243 kB
Department of Industry organisational structure