Government Regulatory Controls
In Western Australia, a whole of government approach is taken to environmental protection and several government agencies are involved. Mitsui E&P Australia’s activities are assessed, approved and monitored by the Western Australia State regulator, the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) which is responsible for overseeing all aspects of a drilling campaign, from the initial awarding of acreage to the approvals to drill an exploration well and final decommissioning and rehabilitation of the site.
In addition, other government agencies play an important role in assessing Mitsui E&P Australia’s activities including the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), which reviews the Company’s licences to construct water wells and extract superficial aquifer water for use during operations.
Mitsui E&P Australia (MEPAU) engages with other regulators, who may be involved in both the exploration, production and decommissioning processes, including:
- Department of Aboriginal Affairs
- Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER)
- Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA)
- Department of Health
- Environmental Protection Authority
The Western Australian oil and gas industry is highly regulated and MEPAU commits itself to upholding the highest standards for environmental and operational performance at every stage of a project’s development.
As part of its approvals process, MEPAU is required to identify environmental impacts and risks associated with the proposed activity and how each of these would be mitigated or managed. The Environmental Plan is a legally binding management document, assessed by the DMIRS, which must contain accurate information about all aspect of a proposal including:
- A description of the proposed activity and environment
- Environmental risk assessment
- Performance objectives, standards and measurement criteria
- Implementation strategy
- Consultation with stakeholders
A description of the environment must also provide information on:
- Climate and meteorology
- Vegetation, flora and fauna
- Geology, land features and soils
- Hydrogeology and hydrology
- Cultural heritage, social amenity, and impacts on other land users
- Any other environmental aspects relevant to the proposal
This information is generally procured through desktop and field surveys. Other legally required approvals, which are obtained prior to the commencement of operations, include a Safety Management Case, Heritage Clearance and Native Vegetation Clearance approvals, all of which are formally assessed by the DWIRS.
Health, safety and environment
MEPAU and our predecessors have a track record of success in managing safe drilling and production operations in the Perth Basin. We have successfully drilled more than 80 wells in the onshore Perth Basin with no significant adverse impacts detected on the below ground aquifers or above ground environment.
MEPAU recognises the need for our exploration and production activities to be sustainable to deliver positive long term outcomes for our communities, the environment and our shareholders.
We are proud of this history and confident in our ability to uphold this reputation in the future because of the right processes and accountabilities that are in place.
We design with safety in mind, beginning with our initial planning and development stage and our ongoing relationship with Western Australia’s government regulators and stakeholders.
Maintaining MEPAU’s ‘social licence to operate’ depends on our ability to continue to not just meet and exceed regulatory standards, but also to meet our own higher standards of health and safety, environmental management, diversity and community engagement.