POLICY and the regulatory framework around the decommissioning of offshore oil and gas installations in Australia does not adhere to global best practice and reform is required, according to a new report produced by Macquarie University’s Centre for Energy and Natural Resources Innovation and Transformation.

The report, Best Practice for Dismantling, Recycling and Disposal of Offshore Petroleum Structures, outlines six recommendations to reform Australia’s regulatory framework.

The repot focuses on the dismantling, processing, recycling and disposal of offshore oil and gas infrastructure – the necessary next step after structures are removed and come ashore.

The report’s author Professor Tina Soliman-Hunter draws on the experience of other mature offshore petroleum jurisdictions such as Norway and the UK to inform its analysis and recommendation for the Australian industry.

The report was launched this week in Canberra along with the Maritime Union of Australia. The union said it had been building the case for a new industry around the Australian coastline to decommission, remove and recycle offshore oil and gas infrastructure to unfold alongside the investment in and development of offshore renewable energy projects.

At the launch of the report Ms Soliman-Hunter said: “High standards onshore are essential to achieving excellent safety, economic and environmental outcomes offshore”.

 MUA assistant national secretary Adrian Evans said Australian maritime workers built and maintained the country’s offshore oil and gas industry throughout the latter decades of the 20th Century.

“With our eyes set firmly on the need to decarbonise our economy and diversify our renewable energy supplies the MUA is advocating for a sustainable and clean withdrawal from offshore oil and gas that includes the comprehensive removal and recycling of the massive volume of disused offshore equipment,” Mr Evans said.

At the report launch, MUA assistant national secretary Mich-Elle Myers said offshore energy projects have provided generations of members with rewarding and fulfilling work building and maintaining the infrastructure that powers our economy.

“That’s not going to change with the shift to offshore renewable projects, and as older oil and gas projects wind down and come offline we have a collective obligation to remove and dispose of these installations thoroughly and sustainably,” she said.