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Petroleum industry to become greener

Environmental performance in the WA offshore petroleum exploration and production industry will be enhanced by new regulations.

The Petroleum (Submerged Lands) (Manage-ment of Environmental) Regulations 1999 replace the previous directions and provide an objective-based regime for the management of environmental performance for offshore petroleum exploration and production activities.

According to Perth solicitors Mallesons Stephen Jaques, the main objectives are to encourage industry to continuously improve its performance to adopt best practice to achieve agreed environmental protection standards in industry operations.

It will also ensure that operations are performed in a way that is consistent with principles of ecologically sustainable development.

“A key feature of the regulations is the requirement that an operator submit an environment plan before commencing any petroleum activity,” Mallesons partner John Garvey said.

“An accepted environmental plan will establish the legally binding environmental management conditions that must be met by the operator of an offshore petroleum activity.”

Also required is an assessment of the environmental risks and effects of the activity, proposed environmental performance standards and criteria for determining whether standards have been met.

It will include an implementation strategy for ensuring that standards are met.

“The operator must also submit a proposed revision before the commencement of any new activity, or any significant modification or new stage or upon a significant increase in, or the occurrence of any significant new, environmental effect or risk not provided for in the current environmental plan,” he said.

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