No fatalities or major injuries in offshore oil and gas in 2016


The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) has released its Annual Offshore Performance Report, for the year ending 31 December 2016.

“2016 was the first year since the establishment of a national safety regulator in 2005, that no fatalities or major injuries were reported,” said Stuart Smith, CEO of NOPSEMA.

“Despite another challenging year of falling oil and gas prices, it was encouraging to see improvement in many safety indicators,” said Mr Smith.

In 2016, the number of dangerous occurrences reported fell by 17 per cent, compared to 2015, with the majority relating to unplanned events. Analysis of the dangerous occurrences indicates that the vast majority required the implementation of emergency response plans and were the result of false alarms or inadvertent manual call point activation due to human activities.

“These causes may provide reassurance to some, but NOPSEMA is concerned about the frequency of the occurrences and the risk of workforce complacency,” said Mr Smith.

An increase in public scrutiny regarding ongoing and proposed offshore oil and gas activities featured strongly in 2016. The increased scrutiny reflects changing community expectations around consultation, engagement and transparency by the industry.

“These changing expectations place an onus on the regulator and industry to respond with actions that ensure maintenance of our social license to regulate and operate,” said Mr Smith.

Reflecting these changing community expectations, NOPSEMA conducted a focused inspection program in 2016 on oil spill risk management, to verify titleholder oil spill preparedness and response capabilities.

“NOPSEMA recognises and supports the industry’s cooperative approaches to oil spill risk management as they provide oil spill risk reduction measures not possible on a single titleholder or activity basis. NOPSEMA also sees scope for the industry to continue expanding these cooperative efforts so oil spill risks are managed to as low as reasonably practicable,” said Mr Smith.

The statistical information contained in the report has been obtained through the full range of NOPSEMA’s regulatory activities, including advice and promotion, assessments, inspections and investigations.

The Annual Offshore Performance Report is available to download at

Hardcopies are available at the NOPSEMA stand (booth 306), part of the Australian Government pavilion at the APPEA conference from 15-17 May at the Perth Conference and Exhibition Centre.

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) is Australia’s independent expert regulator for health and safety, environmental management, structural and well integrity for offshore petroleum facilities and activities in Commonwealth waters.

By law, offshore petroleum activities cannot commence before NOPSEMA has assessed and accepted detailed risk management plans documenting and demonstrating how an organisation will manage the risks to health and safety to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP) and the risk to the environment to ALARP and with acceptable environmental impacts.

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