The Australian oil and gas industry has a strong commitment to high environmental standards and minimising environmental impacts.
In addition to the mandatory regulatory requirements for offshore operations and across onshore all states and territories in Australia, many oil and gas companies commit themselves to voluntary codes of practice to reinforce the industry’s commitment to the safe and environmentally responsible extraction of oil and gas resources.
Before beginning a project, companies undertake research to establish environmental baseline data. This helps define potential impacts and develop environmental impact statements and management plans. Environmental risks are identified and strategies for minimising those risks are evaluated.
The amount of research required will vary depending on the nature, size and potential environmental impact of an activity. In cases where the environment is sensitive, or the activity is complex, more detailed research may be commissioned.
The processes and technology used in the drilling stage are designed to protect the aquifers, groundwater and external environment from interference. The structure of a well bore is designed so that multiple layers of steel casing and cement form a barrier between the internal well and the outside geological structures – including aquifers. The casing and cement are pressure-tested to ensure that they can tolerate higher pressures than those expected over the life of the well.