About NOPTA

The National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA) administers titles and data management for petroleum and greenhouse gas (GHG) titles in Australian Commonwealth waters.

NOPTA supports the management of the offshore petroleum and GHG titles by providing expert advice, administration, compliance monitoring and data management in accordance with the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGS Act).

NOPTA is a Branch within the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources ( the department). The General Manager of NOPTA is the Titles Administrator, a statutory position under the OPGGS Act. NOPTA operates on a full cost recovery basis and is funded via industry fees and levies.

The responsible Commonwealth minister for offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas storage activity is the Minister for Resources and Water (the Minister), The Hon. Keith Pitt MP. NOPTA has been provided with a ministerial statement of expectations in relation to the exercise of NOPTA’s powers and functions under the OPGGS Act and associated regulations. The approach to meeting these expectations is outlined in NOPTA’s statement of intent and operationalised through our strategic plan.

NOPTA’s vision is to contribute to national prosperity through administering the development of Australia’s offshore oil and gas resources and enabling the storage of greenhouse gas. NOPTA’s approach to delivering this vision is outlined in our current strategic plan which identifies three key pillars to our role:

Analyse

Influence

Regulate

Analysis of data and information to inform resource management consideration and decision making.

Encourage greater collaboration and efficiency within industry to drive timely development and optimum recovery of petroleum and storage of greenhouse gases.

Efficiently administer offshore titles in accordance with the OPGGS Act and associated regulations.

NOPTA reports on its performance and progress toward meeting its strategic deliverables in its annual report of activities and the department’s annual report.

NOPTA regularly engages with relevant stakeholders through a range of activities including company meetings, government and industry consultation, and participation in domestic and international events. These activities inform NOPTA’s execution of its functions and assist in identifying opportunities to reduce the level of regulatory burden on industry while achieving desired outcomes.

NOPTA works collaboratively with the department to provide constructive input into regulatory processes and to implement changes to regulations and regulatory practices as they arise.

NOPTA’s offices are located in Perth and Melbourne.

Key Functions

NOPTA’s legislative functions are defined by the OPGGS Act. These include:

  • Providing information, assessments, analysis, reports, advice and recommendations to the relevant decision makers under the OPGGS Act.
  • Facilitating life of title administration, including compliance monitoring.
  • Engaging with titleholders on their performance in meeting regulatory obligations and expectations.
  • Ensuring petroleum resource management is undertaken in accordance with the principles of good oilfield practice.
  • Implementing effective field performance monitoring strategies in order to secure optimum long term petroleum recovery.
  • Manage the submission and release of data.
  • Decision maker for the approval and registration of transfers and dealings, including consideration of the financial and technical capacity of prospective titleholders.
  • Decisions for granting of short-term titles.
  • Maintain the public registers of offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas titles.
  • Cooperate with NOPSEMA on matters relating to the administration and enforcement of the OPGGS Act and regulations.
  • Collecting levies and fees in accordance with government policy and NOPTA’s approved Cost Recovery Implementation Statement. Maintaining a special account consistent with the requirements of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

Background to the establishment of NOPTA

On 26 March 2008, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) announced the Productivity Commission Review (PC) of regulatory burden on the upstream petroleum (oil & gas) sector. At the time, the states and Northern Territory carried out day-to-day offshore petroleum titles administration within Commonwealth waters (referred to as the Designated Authorities).

The PC was requested to consider Australia's framework for upstream petroleum regulation and consider opportunities for streamlining regulatory approvals, providing clear timeframes and removing duplication between jurisdictions.

The PC 'Review of Regulatory Burden on the Upstream Petroleum (Oil & Gas) Sector' (April 2009) 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.

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.

On 15 September 2011, the Parliament passed a package of amendment Acts to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGS Act) and associated Acts to:

  • expand the functions of the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) to become the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), the regulator of occupational health and safety, integrity of facilities and wells, environmental management and day to day operations relating to petroleum activities in Commonwealth waters
  • create a National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA), within the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism at that time, to advise the Joint Authority on petroleum titles and to administer titles and data
  • impose cost-recovery levies on holders of offshore petroleum titles in respect of environmental approvals and titles administration under the OPGGS Act to fund the new regulatory activities of NOPSEMA and NOPTA.

As a result of these amendments, from 1 January 2012, NOPTA and NOPSEMA commenced regulatory functions and powers under the OPGGSA, and the former Designated Authorities were abolished.

Date Activity
26 March 2008 The Council of Australian Governments announced the Productivity Commission Review into the regulatory burden of the upstream petroleum sector.
30 April 2009 Productivity Commission Report - Review of Regulatory Burden on the Upstream Petroleum (oil and gas) Sector was release.
5 August 2009 The then Minister for Resources and Energy announces his intention to form a national regulator by 1 January 2012
21 August 2009 Uncontrolled hydrocarbon release from the Montara field
5 November 2009 A Commission of Inquiry into the Montara incident was announced
24 November 2010 The Report of the Montara Commission of Inquiry was released
25 May 2011 The Australian Government response to the Montara Commission of Inquiry was released
25 May 2011 Australian Government response to the Productivity Commission Report - Review of Regulatory Burden on the Upstream Petroleum Sector was released.
1 January 2012 NOPTA and NOPSEMA commenced

Related documents

NOPTA strategic plan—2020–2023

NOPTA organisational structure—as at March 2022

Statement of expectations—October 2019

NOPTA Statement of intent—December 2019

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