You are on page 1of 14

GUIDELINES FOR

OFFSHORE PIPELINE FACILITIES


Note:

These Guidelines are intended for Pipeline Facilities located in


Commonwealth Waters, pursuant to the Petroleum (Submerged
Lands) Act 1967 and the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) (Pipelines)
Regulations 2001

Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources


January 2006

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.

OBJECTIVE........................................................................................................................... 3

2.

SCOPE ................................................................................................................................... 3

3.

DEFINITIONS ....................................................................................................................... 3

4.

ROLE OF GOVERNMENT .................................................................................................. 4

5.

DESIGN AND PRE-CONSTRUCTION ............................................................................... 4

6.

DETERMINATION (GRANT OR REFUSAL) OF A PIPELINE LICENCE...................... 5

7.
a.
b.
8.
8A
9.

CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATION................................................................................ 7


Consent to Construct and Operate...................................................................................... 7
Pipeline Management Plan (PMP) ..................................................................................... 7
SAFETY APPROVALS BY NOPSA.................................................................................... 8
REGISTRATION OF OPERATOR

ENVIRONMENTAL APPROVALS..................................................................................... 9

Attachment A - Suggested Proposed Pipeline Management Plan Inclusions......... 10


Attachment B: Pipeline Management Plan Approval Process............................... 11
Attachment C - Pipeline Management Plan Inclusions .......................................... 12
Attachment D: Pipeline Approval Process under PSLA & Regulations ................ 13
Figure 1: Example of a Pipeline and Secondary Line .................................................... 14

GUIDELINES FOR OFFSHORE PIPELINE FACILITIES


1.

OBJECTIVE

1.1

The objective of these Guidelines is to assist petroleum companies to understand the


requirements, indicative timing and process leading to the determination (grant or refusal)
of a pipeline licence approval and/or obtaining the necessary consents for the design,
construction and operation of a pipeline facility pursuant to the Petroleum (Submerged
Lands) Act 1967 (the PSLA) and the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) (Pipelines)
Regulations 2001 (the Pipeline Regulations).

2.

SCOPE

2.1

The PSLA and the Pipeline Regulations should be consulted in the first instance as the
binding legislative instruments encompassing the offshore petroleum pipeline regulatory
framework. These two instruments are not mutually exclusive and should not be used in
isolation. The PSLA provides concise direction and requirements for offshore facilities
and the Pipeline Regulations provide an objective-based system for regulation of offshore
petroleum pipelines.

2.2

These Guidelines provide a company seeking to establish and maintain a pipeline facility
with an overview of the relevant assessment and approval processes. It also outlines the
consultation necessary between the operator and relevant Commonwealth and
State/Northern Territory (NT) agencies.

2.3

The Guidelines are not intended to provide mandatory or inflexible standards and allow
for consideration of applications on a case-by-case basis.

3.

DEFINITIONS

The following terms used in these Guidelines have the following meanings.
Operator operator is defined by s98 of the PSLA as a permittee, lessee, licensee,
infrastructure licensee, pipeline licensee or holder of a special prospecting authority or access
authority. (Note: In these Guidelines the term operator is used in the context of the general
meaning in the broader PSLA context and also includes the proponent of a proposed pipeline.
Operator also has a narrow meaning under Pipeline Regulations where an operator means
the person registered by NOPSA as the operator for the pipeline).
Designated Authority (DA) - (the relevant State/NT Minister or Commonwealth Minister with
responsibility for upstream petroleum matters) is defined by s14 of the PSLA. In the
Guidelines, the term Designated Authority (DA) is also used to describe State/NT and
Commonwealth officials where those officials assist the DA or have powers delegated to them
by the DA (refer s15 of the PSLA.
Joint Authority (JA) - (consisting of the Commonwealth Minister with responsibility for
upstream petroleum matters and the relevant State/NT Minister) is defined by s8A of the PSLA.
In the Guidelines, the term Joint Authority (JA) is also used to describe Commonwealth and
State/Northern Territory officials where those officials are assisting the Joint Authority.
National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) means the Safety Authority
established by s150XD of the PSLA.

Proposed Pipeline Management Plan (PPMP) forms an integral part of the Application for a
Pipeline Licence and includes aspects of the pipeline as prescribed under s64(1) of the PSLA.
However, the DA may request additional information in relation to the Licence Application,
under s64(4) of the PSLA.
Pipeline Management Plan (PMP) in force for a pipeline means a pipeline management plan
for a pipeline that is:
a. submitted by or for the pipeline licensee; and
b. accepted under the Pipeline Regulations (or, if the pipeline management plan is accepted in
part, that part of the pipeline management plan that is accepted); and
c. as revised from time to time under the Pipeline Regulations; and
d. for which the acceptance has not been withdrawn.
The contents of a PMP are outlined in s23 of the Pipeline Regulations and include a Pipeline
Safety Management Plan.
Pipeline Safety Management Plan (PSMP) means the components of a PMP pipeline
management plan that provide for the health and safety of persons at or near the pipeline.
4.

ROLE OF GOVERNMENT

4.1

The Australian Government has a responsibility to ensure that present and future
generations of Australians derive optimum benefit from the petroleum resources of the
seabed beneath the Commonwealth, state and territory marine jurisdiction.

4.2

The Australian Government also has a responsibility to provide assurance to the community
that offshore petroleum operations, including regulating the construction and operation of
pipelines and other associated structures, are undertaken in accordance with good oilfield
practice. This includes measures to adequately safeguard health and safety; protect the
environment; and minimise disruption to other legitimate uses of the sea.

4.3

The Australian Government has a responsibility to provide a regulatory framework that


protects the community interests whilst at the same time addresses industry needs. This
regulatory framework should not unreasonably delay or hinder the operators planned
development. To this end, the Australian Government has adopted regulatory frameworks
that promote less prescriptive compliance requirements. This objective-based regulation
requires the operator to identify potential hazards and risks to the integrity of a pipeline and
propose counteractive measures to prevent and/or mitigate those hazards or risks to as low
as reasonably practicable. As industry can implement improved practices at its discretion,
the cost of complying with the regulations is lower, and the transparent acceptance and
compliance processes reassure the community that pipeline operations are being conducted
responsibly.

5.

DESIGN AND PRE-CONSTRUCTION

5.1

Pipeline design and route selection involves the process of operators, regulators and
stakeholders working cooperatively through safety, technical and environmental criteria to
identify an optimum pipeline alignment that will meet the requirements of the Pipeline
Regulations.

5
5.2

The operator should consider the following matters in determining an appropriate location
and design for a petroleum pipeline:
- Location and type of facility the pipeline is connecting to and from
- Locations of military zones and other competing uses of the area
- Appropriateness of materials for construction of pipeline for the corrosivity of
substances to be conveyed (eg. natural gas, water, chlorides, hydrogen sulphide,
CO2 etc)
- Characteristics of the substance proposed to be conveyed
- Constructability of the proposal, including but not limited to, pipe material, size, wall
thickness, composition of fluid and capacity, maximum operating pressure, maximum
and minimum design temperatures, pipeline stability, corrosion protection.
- Estimated duration of pipeline design development and construction and start-up of
operations
- Meteocean and sea-bed conditions
- Other relevant regulatory requirements, eg. environmental assessment
- Future petroleum development and potential tie-ins in the vicinity of the proposed
pipeline.

5.3

These early considerations will assist the operator to develop a clear understanding of
issues that would affect the proposed pipeline facility.

6.

DETERMINATION (GRANT OR REFUSAL) OF A PIPELINE LICENCE


APPROVAL

6.1. Under s5(1) of the PSLA a pipeline is defined as a pipe or system of pipes in an adjacent
area for conveying petroleum (whether the petroleum is petroleum recovered from an
adjacent area or not), other than a secondary line. A secondary line means a pipe or system
of pipes for:
(a) returning petroleum to a natural reservoir;
(b) conveying petroleum for use for petroleum exploration operations or petroleum
recovery operations;
(c) conveying petroleum that is to be flared or vented; or
(d) conveying petroleum from a well, wherever located, to a terminal station in an
adjacent area without passing through another terminal station.
Examples of pipelines and secondary lines are given in Figure 1.
6.2

Accordingly, a licence is required for pipelines used to transport petroleum from one
point to another, whether this is the recovery point to the onshore receiving point, or a
non-adjacent area.

6.3

General requirements for pipeline licence applications are prescribed in s64 of the PSLA.
For instance, s64(1) of the PSLA specifies the information that needs to be provided with
a pipeline licence application. The Guidelines refer to this required information as a
Proposed Pipeline Management Plan (PPMP). Suggested content of a PPMP are
provided at Attachment A. The DA may ask the licence applicant to provide further
information, in accordance with s64(4) of the PSLA, to assist the analysis of an
application.

6.4

The applicant should submit four copies of the PPMP to the DA who will immediately
forward two to the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources (DITR). The DA will
also forward a copy of the PPMP to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority

6
(NOPSA) for comment. If any additional information is needed, the DA will request this
information from the applicant within two weeks of the receipt of the PPMP. Where a
pipeline crosses more than one jurisdiction, both DAs should be consulted and provided
with appropriate documentation in order to provide separate approvals.
6.5

The PPMP would be expanded into a Pipeline Management Plan (PMP), after the grant of
the pipeline licence. The submission of the PPMP would allow the operator to identify
potential issues at an early stage. This would also allow time to make improvements
before the final PMP is submitted 1 for acceptance by the DA, in accordance with the
Pipeline Regulations.

6.6

The DA and DITR will review the information accompanying the application for a
Pipeline Licence, including the PPMP, and will prepare a joint technical report (JTR) on
the PPMP. In the process of assessing the application, DITR will seek technical advice
from Geoscience Australia. DITR will also consult with a number of other
Commonwealth agencies, including the Department of Defence, the Department of the
Environment and Heritage, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, the Australian
Maritime Safety Authority, and Telstra. The National Native Title Tribunal and any
relevant Native Title Representative Body will be consulted.

6.7

The DA and DITR will then finalise the JTR and provide it to the Joint Authority (JA) for
consideration, within 2 months of receiving all relevant information from the operator.

6.8

When referring the pipeline licence application (together with the JTR) to the JA for
consideration, the DA will forward its recommendations concerning the grant/refusal of
the pipeline licence and the conditions 2 , if any, to be imposed on the pipeline licence. The
DA will also advise the JA of any potential need to invoke the third party access
provisions available through s73 of the PSLA.

6.9

After considering the information forwarded by the DA, the JA will determine whether a
pipeline licence should be granted or refused in accordance with s65 of the PSLA. Where
the applicant is informed that the JA is prepared to grant a Pipeline Licence, the applicant
has three months to respond to the DA to request grant of licence (s65(9)) of the PSLA).
If the applicant does not request grant of licence within 3 months, the licence lapses
(s65(11) of the PSLA.

6.10 The Pipeline Licence provides the operator with the legal title to construct and operate the
pipeline along the specified route. Once a pipeline licence is granted, it remains in force
indefinitely. However, the JA can terminate a pipeline licence if the operator has not
carried out any construction work under the licence and has not used the pipeline for a
continuous period of 5 years (refer s67A of the PSLA).

The PMP may be submitted in two stages, a Design and Construction PMP to obtain the consent to design and
construct and an Operation PMP to obtain the consent to operate (see Section 7).

The DA will discuss these conditions with the operator of the proposed pipeline, prior to making recommendation
to the JA.

7
7.

CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATION

a.

Consent to Construct and Operate

7.1

An operator must not carry out activities to construct a pipeline unless the DA has granted
a consent to construct for those activities. In this regard, the operator must lodge with the
DA a consent to construct application accompanied by the following requirements as
specified in Regulation 9 of the Pipeline Regulations including:
those parts of the PMP in force for the pipeline that provide for the activities to which
the application relates; ie: the design and construction of the pipeline;
a validation of the proposal to carry out those activities (ie the scope of the validation
requirements must have been agreed with the DA under Regulation 8(b) of the
Pipeline Regulations); and
other relevant information that the DA may require on reasonable grounds.

7.2

The application must include the name of the applicant and the applicants contact details
(i.e. address, fax number or email address). Within 28 days of the receipt of the
application for a consent to construct, the DA will decide whether to grant the consent to
construct (refer Regulation 10 of the Pipeline Regulations).

7.3

As with the pipeline construction, the operator must not operate a pipeline unless the DA
has granted a consent to operate the pipeline. In this case, the application for a consent
to operate must be accompanied by the following information as specified in Regulation
15 of the Pipeline Regulations including:
those parts of the PMP in force for the pipeline that provide for the operation of the
pipeline;
a validation of the proposal to operate the pipeline (ie the scope of the validation
requirements under Regulation 14(b) of the Pipeline Regulations);
information showing that the pipeline licensee is maintaining insurance in compliance
with s97A of the PSLA; and
other relevant information that the DA may require on reasonable grounds.
Within 7 days of the receipt of the consent to operate application, the DA will decide
whether to grant the consent to operate (refer Regulation 16(1) of the Pipeline
Regulations).

b.

Pipeline Management Plan (PMP)

7.4

The PMP will contain information on pipeline management and pipeline safety
management (refer Regulation 23 of the Pipeline Regulations). The safety aspects of the
PMP will effectively serve as the Pipeline Safety Management Plan (PSMP). A separate
document for the PSMP is not needed. The operator will prepare the PMP as a single
document and submit two copies to the DA with an Environment Plan.

7.5

The DA will give a copy of the PMP to NOPSA within 7 days of the receipt of the PMP
(refer Regulation 20A of the Pipeline Regulations). The DA will also provide a copy of
the PMP to the DAs pipeline engineering assessors and a copy of the EP to the DAs
environment assessors for their respective evaluations.

7.6

NOPSA will consider the PSMP within the PMP and notify the DA within 21 days
whether the PSMP should be accepted or rejected (refer Regulation 39B of the Pipeline
Regulations). The pipeline engineering and environment assessors will also report back to

8
the DA within 21 days of their respective assessments. The DA will then evaluate these
assessments and notify the operator within 7 days whether the PMP is accepted or
rejected. This process is illustrated by the flowchart at Attachment B.
7.7

Attachment C sets out matters that would typically be included in a PMP. It should be
noted that the objective based Pipeline Regulations promote a non-prescriptive regulatory
framework and therefore the operator will have some discretion in the final composition of
the PMP.

7.8

The flowchart located at Attachment D outlines the complete pipeline approval process
involving:

the JAs grant of the pipeline licence;

the DAs grant of the consent to construct the pipeline;

the DAs grant of consent to operate the pipeline.

8.

SAFETY APPROVALS BY NOPSA

8.1

NOPSA is a single agency covering the occupational health and safety (OH&S) aspects
for both Commonwealth and State coastal waters and is accountable to the
Commonwealth, State and Northern Territory Ministers. NOPSAs primary objective is to
provide best practice offshore safety regulation in Australia by reducing the regulatory
burden on the offshore petroleum industry and delivering a nationally consistent and
comprehensive safety regime. The functions of NOPSA are set out in s150XE of the
PSLA.

8.2

NOPSA is responsible for monitoring the OH&S aspects of offshore pipeline facilities.

8.3

In the consent to construct and consent to operate stages of the pipeline project, the
DA will seek NOPSAs approval of the PSMP component of the PMP. The DA will
accept the PMP only if NOPSA has notified that it has accepted the PSMP. Information
on NOPSAs approval process is available at the NOPSA website at www.nopsa.gov.au

8A

REGISTRATION OF OPERATOR

8A.1 The Pipeline Regulations (Regulation 6E) prohibit the construction and operation of a
pipeline if there is not a registered Operator.
8A.2 The pipeline licensee should provide a written notice to NOPSA nominating a person as
the Operator for the pipeline. NOPSA will accept the nomination if it is satisfied that the
nominated person will have the day-to-day management and control of the pipeline for
the construction and for the operation stages of the pipeline life as appropriate.
8A.3 NOPSA must maintain a registered of operators. It is the operator of a pipeline that carries
the occupational health and safety obligations in respect of persons at or near the pipeline
during the relevant life stage of the pipeline. The described functions of the registered
Operator must be consistent with those of the operator for the PMP.

9
9.

ENVIRONMENTAL APPROVALS

9.1

Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act),
an action in a Commonwealth marine area that is likely to have a significant impact on the
environment is subject to a rigorous referral, assessment and approval process. (An action
includes a project, development, undertaking, activity, or series of activities). Accordingly,
a company that intends to construct/operate an offshore pipeline may refer the proposal to
the Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) to determine whether the
proposal is a "controlled action" under the EPBC Act.

9.2

If the proposal is determined to be a controlled action, based on the preliminary


information provided by the operator, the Commonwealth Environment Minister will
direct an appropriate level of environmental impact assessment of the proposal. The
Environment Minister's approval of the proposal usually provides for environment
conditions that may have implications for construction/operation of a pipeline. Therefore,
for controlled actions, the JA may take the Environment Ministers conditions into
consideration prior to grant of the pipeline licence.

9.3

If the operator chooses not to refer the proposal to DEH, the JA will consider the licence
application on its merits and may grant a licence without reference to EPBC approval
conditions. In this case the operator will still be required to address environmental
considerations under the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) (Management of Environment)
Regulations 1999 (Environment Regulations) prior to the Designated Authority giving
consent to construct/operate the pipeline.

9.4

Regulation 9 of the Environment Regulations provides that before commencing a


petroleum activity the operator of the activity must submit an Environment Plan (EP) for
the activity to the DA for the adjacent area.

9.5

In accordance with Regulation 4 of the Environment Regulations, any of the following


pipeline related activities constitute a petroleum activity:
seismic or other surveys;
construction and installation of a pipeline;
operation of a pipeline;
significant modification of a pipeline;
decommissioning, dismantling or removing a pipeline;
storage, processing or transport of petroleum; and
any other operations or works for which a petroleum instrument, other authority or
consent is required under the Act or the regulations.
Accordingly, a pipeline operator will submit an EP to the DA, prior to commencement of
construction, operation, significant modification or decommissioning of the pipeline.
Within 28 days of receipt of the EP, the DA will decide whether to accept the EP (refer
Regulation 10 of the Environmental Guidelines). This process is illustrated by the flowchart
at Attachment B.

10

Attachment A - Suggested Proposed Pipeline Management Plan Inclusions


The operator is not (legally) required to submit a detailed Pipeline Management Plan (PMP) prior
to the grant of a Pipeline Licence. However, it is common practice for the operator to outline the
general approach proposed in the PMP in the pipeline licence approval stage. Such material
would be provided in a Proposed Pipeline Management Plan (PPMP).
The essential components of the PPMP (in accord with s64 of the PSLA) include:
the particulars of:
the proposed design and construction of the pipeline;
the proposed size and capacity of the pipeline;
the proposals of the applicant for work and expenditure in respect of the construction of
the pipeline;
the technical qualifications of the operator and of his employees
the technical advice available to the applicant;
the financial resources available to the applicant; and
any agreements entered into, or proposed to be entered into, by the applicant for or in
relation to the supply or conveyance of petroleum by means of the pipeline;
a plan, drawn to an approved scale, showing:
the route to be followed by the pipeline;
the sites of pumping stations, tank stations and valve stations to be used in connection
with the pipeline; and
the site of any pumping station, tank station or valve station that the applicant desires to
be declared under s63 to be a terminal station in connection with the pipeline; and
an application for a pipeline licence may set out any other matters that the applicant wishes to
be considered.

11

Attachment B:

Pipeline Management Plan Approval Process


The operator submits the PMP
(a single document) with the
application for consent to
construct/operate and EP, for
DAs approval.

The DA clears each


aspect of the PMP
and
EP
before
granting approval to
construct/operate.

NOPSA

21 days
7 days

PMP,
Incorporating
Pipeline Safety
Management Plan
(PSMP)

DA

;
;

DA (Pipeline
Engineering)
Consent to
Construct/Operate

DA
28 days

Environment
Plan (EP)
DA (Environment)

Consent to Construct decision 28 days


Consent to Operate decision 7 days

12

Attachment C - Pipeline Management Plan Inclusions


It is suggested that the Pipeline Management Plan include information demonstrating the
consideration of the following, including the necessary agreed validations:

Design
Studies

Technical notes
and calculations
Risk assessment Basis of design
Maps - pipeline Global/local buckling
route and
Thermal expansion
corridor width
Pipeline stability
showing depth
Static/transient
profile, heritage
analysis
and natural
Corrosion
features of
Spanning
interest, military SSIV and ESD control
zones,
and performance
distances,
Umbilicals (control
facilities etc
and monitoring)
Ocean and
Riser, expansion loops
weather studies
and tie-in spools
Seismic study
Flooding, cleaning and
Geotechnical
gauging
survey
Testing drying and
Seabed
commissioning
roughness
Pipeline installation

Drawings

Specifications

Others

Pipeline and
structure
protection and
supports
Trenching and
rock berm
details
Harbour studies
Shoreline
approach and
crossing
Pipeline pull-in
arrangements
Temporary
equipment
layouts and
testing for
pipeline pull-in

Line pipe
Riser
Coatings
Anodes
Valves
Welding &
NDT
Induction
bends
Flanges and
connectors
Filed joint
coating
Sub-sea
structures

EP for
construction
Report on
design
validation
activities
Audit
schedule
Consent to
construct

Construction
Risk assessment
Project execution plan
Health and safety management plan
Monthly report and forecast schedule
Construction emergency response plan
HAZID close out reports
Accident and incident reports

Audit schedule for construction vessels


Contractors construction procedures
Insurance for construction phase
Diving operations DSMS, diving safety
manual, procedures and work instructions
Consent to operate
EP for operations

Operations
Health and safety management plan
Annual report and forecast schedule for
inspection and maintenance
Remedial work planned and undertaken

Emergency response plan


Audit schedule
Oil spill contingency plan
Accident and incident reports

Decommissioning
Decommissioning plans

13

Attachment D: Pipeline Approval Process under PSLA & Regulations


Consultation with DA regarding pipeline approval process
** Open consultation between the DA and operator is an ongoing feature of the
approval process pursuant to the objective-based regulations **

Proposed Pipeline Management Plan (PPMP) developed


DA provide
application
and PPMP
to DITR

DITR consult
with GA, and
other
Agencies

After JAs
approval of the
pipeline licence,
the PPMP would
be expanded
into PMP.

PPMP submitted
to DA
as attachment to Pipeline
Licence Application

DITR/DA
finalise
Joint
Technical
Report

Expand and/or amend PMP

JA grants
Pipeline
Licence
Joint
Authority
Designated
Authority

to reflect new information available and


DAs comments

Submit Application for


Consent to Construct
Safety
approval

With Design & Construction


PMP in force

by NOPSA

Environment
approval (EP)
under PSLA

Construction
Submit Application for
Consent to Operate
Safety
approval

with Operation PMP in force

Environment
approval (EP)

by NOPSA

under PSLA

Operation

14

Figure 1

EXAMPLE OF A PIPELINE AND SECONDARY LINE

Production Licence
Area 1
eg. Wellhead valve

Production Licence
Area 2

shore
Pipeline
eg; Sub-sea
manifold

Pipeline

Pipeline

eg. Tank
station
Pipeline
(See note below.)

Sub-sea
well head

Secondary
Line
Producing
Wells

Well
Trajectory
Terminal
Station

Reservoir

Separate
Reservoir

Note: Section 63 of the PLSA provides an ability for the DA to declare a pumping station, tank station or valve station
in an adjacent area to be a terminal station. This ability may be exercised by the DA whether or not a pipeline
transects the boundary between two production licenses. If as a result a length of pipeline conveying petroleum
products becomes located between two terminal stations, it becomes a licensable pipeline as defined under Section 5
(Interpretations) of the PLSA.