NDRI & NERA launch national research EOI to help industry navigate $30 billion decommissioning liability

02 September 2019

Australia’s oil and gas industry has taken significant strides towards sector-wide collaboration on improved decommissioning decision making with the release of national research funding

The funding is part of a new Expressions of Interest (EOI) round announced by the National Decommissioning Research Initiative (NDRI) and NERA (National Energy Resources Australia), Australia’s only independent and industry-led research and knowledge organisation for that promotes solutions, technologies and services to support sector-wide transformation across Australia's energy resources industries.

The EOI round is open to applications for research projects that can help answer key questions relating to the impact of decommissioning Australia’s oil and gas infrastructure. Findings will improve understanding of the marine environment and better inform decommissioning decisions in Australia and potentially the Asia Pacific region and beyond.

Projects seeking funding will focus on two priorities that align with the NDRI’s strategic priorities:

  1.  the potential impact of decommissioning O&G structures on life in the marine environment; and
  2.  potential contaminants released in the marine environment if structures remain in situ.

The EOI announcement comes at a critical time with Australia’s decommissioning liability estimated at potentially $30 billion over the next 50 years. Australian law requires companies to remove all structures installed, unless an alternative approach can demonstrate low and acceptable levels of risk and equal or better value. The NDRI has been established to provide science to inform these questions of risk and value.

NERA Decommissioning Project Director Andrew Taylor said “The NDRI is the first long-term and industry-wide collaboration on decommissioning research in Australia. It represents significant progress towards an improved collective understanding of decommissioning impacts.”

NERA CEO Miranda Taylor said “NERA has played an integral role in supporting the independent delivery of the NDRI to improve the extent and quality of information that can support a transparent decision making process and lead towards sustainable and economic outcomes for Australia from decommissioning."

Associate Professor Peter Macreadie, Chair of the NDRI’s Independent Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB), noted “We simply don’t know enough about the impact of leaving structures in place or removing them and how this influences the marine environment. The NDRI brings industry together to answer these critical questions, under the scientific direction of the ISAB.”

Funded through an extensive industry collaboration, including Woodside Energy Ltd, Shell Australia Ltd, Esso Australia Pty Ltd, Chevron Australia Pty Ltd, BHP Petroleum Pty Ltd, Santos Limited, ConocoPhillips, Pipeline Australia Pty Ltd and Vermilion Oil and Gas Australia Ltd, the NDRI will provide approximately $2.3 million from 2019 to 2022 to commission research projects to improve understanding of decommissioning in the marine environment.

Responses to the NDRI EOI are due by 1 October 2019 and further information is available on the NDRI website (www.ndriaustralia.org).

Access the EOI form here.