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Keeping Kiwis safe 'a top priority' for petroleum industry

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

CEO of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association, David Robinson has welcomed the new regulations governing petroleum exploration and extraction in NZ announced today.

"The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment today released an interim report into hydraulic fracturing. She plans to release a second report in 2013 which will look at how the environmental impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing are regulated and monitored.

"Keeping our workers safe and limiting the impact we have on the environment around us is a priority for the oil and gas industry.

"We have over 7,000 workers in our sector and there is nothing more important than making sure every one of them returns home to their families at the end of the day.

"New regulations, developed in consultation with industry and other stakeholders, are being introduced today which will strengthen the management of hazards that could cause a major accident and reduce the likelihood of an uncontrolled release of oil and gas occurring during well operations.

"The changes announced today will bring the petroleum exploration and extraction sector into line with regulatory practice in the United Kingdom and Australia.

"Our industry has a great track record when it comes to the health and safety of our workers, but that does not mean we should rest on our laurels. We always strive to eliminate risk where we can.

"We hope that these regulations will help build public confidence in our operations, and address some of the questions put forward in the Parliamentary Commissioners report today," David Robinson said.

Under the new regulations:

- Operators (both onshore and offshore) will be required to prepare a safety case and submit it to the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment for acceptance before the commencement of operations. The Ministry will be able to recover, from operators, the full cost associated with its assessment of safety cases.

- Operators of smaller scale, lower risk onshore production installations will be required to prepare an overview of the measures in place to protect the health and safety of those at, or near the installation in lieu of a safety case.

- All operators will have to report ‘near miss’ incidents that could have led to a major accident - this will ensure the Ministry has sufficient data to inform the targeting of its regulatory interventions.

- The regulatory regime will focus on the whole lifecycle of the well to ensure that wells are designed, modified, commissioned, constructed, equipped, operated, maintained, suspended and abandoned in a way that ensures operators reduce the risks to a level that is as low as is reasonably practicable.

- All operators will be required to implement arrangements for independent and competent persons to examine the design, construction, and maintenance of all wells within their inventory.

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