The Western Australian Government has released the Draft Petroleum Legislation Amendment Bill (B) 2023 for consultation. Formerly known as the Greenhouse Gas Storage and Transport Bill, the bill is designed to support the industrial and resource sectors’ transition to net zero emissions, drafting a legislative framework for the transport and geological storage of greenhouse gases in the state.

The Petroleum Legislation Amendment Bill (B) 2023 seeks to introduce a greenhouse gas legislative regime similar to the Commonwealth Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006.

These new provisions include property rights for greenhouse gas storage formations; acreage release for greenhouse gas exploration titles; retention leases and injection licences; injection; site closure and long-term liability requirements.

Further proposals include the ability to regulate direct access to suitable storage sites under specific circumstances, and to allow for the transport of greenhouse gases by pipelines to depleted petroleum reservoirs and other potential storage sites.

Western Australia Acting Mines and Petroleum Minister, Sue Ellery, said, “We know the majority of Western Australia’s industrial and resources sectors share our decarbonisation ambitions and this legislative reform is an important tool in our efforts.

“Not only are the legislative amendments key to decarbonising the industry, but they will also provide the regulatory certainty needed to facilitate investment, job creation and the growth of our state,” Ms Ellery said.

The Bill, which was previously known as the Petroleum Legislation Amendment (Greenhouse Gas Storage and Transport) Bill 2022, proposes amendments to the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967, Petroleum Pipelines Act 1969 and Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1982.

A 12 week consultation period will now begin for stakeholders to provide their feedback on the proposed amendments.

Feedback submissions will close at 5pm, Friday 14 April 2023.

In addition to these amendments, the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) is inviting comment from stakeholders on amendments to modernise electronic communications and signatures on the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967, Petroleum Pipelines Act 1969 and Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1982. The amendments specifically allow applicants to submit documents electronically, eliminating the need to submit multiple copies of that application.

DMIRS’ Resource and Environmental Compliance Executive Director, Karen Caple, said the changes align with the department’s commitment to improving its digital capability to meet industry needs.

“We recognise the increasing desire for industry to conduct business and transactions electronically, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic, and the department has responded to these requests,” Ms Caple said.

“This Bill will support modern business practices by digitising more of our services and enabling a more streamlined application process.”

Feedback submissions for these amendments will close at 5pm on 24 February 2024.

More information on all of the above draft Bills and the feedback process can be found on the open consultation page.

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