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Development of regulations under the EEZ Act for decommissioning offshore oil and gas infrastructure

This page has information on the proposed regulations.

About the proposed regulations

In 2017, the Government strengthened the regulatory framework for the decommissioning of offshore oil and gas structures and pipelines in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). This includes a new requirement for operators to provide a decommissioning plan before applying for a decommissioning-related marine consent.

We sought feedback on the proposed requirements of the decommissioning regulations. The regulations will set out the requirements for the decommissioning plan and the approval process and criteria.  

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Why the proposed regulations are needed

There are four oil and gas production fields in New Zealand’s EEZ – all off Taranaki. All of the installations and related infrastructure connected to these fields will need to be taken out of service (decommissioned) when they reach the end of their economic or productive life. It is estimated that New Zealand’s first decommissioning project will begin in the next five years.    

In 2017, the Resource Legislation Amendment Act introduced a number of changes to the EEZ Act, including a requirement for owners of offshore oil and gas installations to submit a decommissioning plan to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

The purpose of the decommissioning plan is to incentivise operators to plan for decommissioning and engage early with the public and the EPA. Early engagement will help inform decisions about the different decommissioning options that might be appropriate.

The requirement for a decommissioning plan will only take effect once regulations have been introduced. The Government intends to finalise the regulations in 2019.

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For more information on the proposed regulations see the regulatory impact summary: Development of regulations under the EEZ Act for decommissioning offshore oil and gas infrastructure 

For information on the 2017 changes to the EEZ Act see the regulatory impact summary for the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015: Decommissioning of offshore installations in the EEZ

See information about the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017