NERA launches online portal to improve environmental approvals process

Reducing regulatory burden and increasing the flow of information are just two of the focus areas of a new online portal launched by NERA (National Energy Resources Australia) today.

NERA, as an independent and not for profit organisation, is one of six Industry Growth Centres funded by the Australian Government to support global competitiveness by focusing on four key areas - increasing collaboration and commercialisation; improving access to global supply chains and international opportunities; enhancing management and workforce skills; and optimising the regulatory environment.

By collecting multiple reference cases in one site, the NERA portal forms a sophisticated knowledge base for operators to use in the development of new environment plans where previous case outcomes can be applied to their proposed activity, creating efficiencies for regulators and industry.

The portal has the potential to significantly reduce the assessment burden on companies in terms of cost, timeframes and uncertainty by simplifying the preparation and submission of new environment plans for future exploration.

The portal continues the work started by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) in conjunction with government, industry and community partners, to build greater transparency, consistency and community trust in the environmental approvals process and reduce unnecessary regulatory burden.

NERA CEO Miranda Taylor said the portal and NERA’s project work connected with the reference cases has the potential to build the industry’s social license to operate.

“Whilst oil and gas companies play a vital role in providing the energy and prosperity needed to support Australian homes and businesses, they are also committed to show the community and their stakeholders how they operate in an environmentally responsible manner and to be accountable for that performance,” Ms Taylor said.

“The portal will eventually provide a central place for anyone from the Australian community to search for and find the information that underpins the environmental performance of the industry. This shared knowledge base is what will underpin the industry’s social license for decades to come and allow the industry to grow in the most environmentally responsible, productive and competitive way possible.

“NERA’s reference case portal is a starting point for sharing information about the good practices of the oil and gas industry. The portal will make seeking environmental approvals simpler for smaller Australian companies or new entrants into the Australian market. The message is simple: don’t start from scratch, start with a reference case.”

The portal currently lists ideas for reference case studies and provides three examples of reference cases. 

Two new reference cases are now available for public comment until 5pm AEST, 20 June 2018. Comments should be address to NERA and sent to All comments received will be treated confidentially. 

2018:1002 - Anchoring of Vessels and Floating Facilities

2018:1003 - Consequence analysis of an accidental release of diesel

In addition to the final reference cases NERA requested that the consultant engaged to deliver the first reference cases prepare a report on the project. The consultants report is linked below.

Consultants report - Reference case proof of concept

To address the advises in the consultants report the project will enter a review phase. The review will run until 20 June. A terms of reference for the review has been agreed with APPEA and NOPSEMA and is linked below. 

Terms of Reference - Review of the reference case project

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Media contact

Alana Buckley-Carr

NERA Communications Manager

+61 438 118 826

About NERA

NERA has been established to maximise value to the Australian economy by having an energy resources sector that is globally competitive, sustainable, innovative and diverse. Through a national focus, NERA's role is to grow collaboration and innovation to assist the energy resources sector manage cost structures and productivity, direct research to industry needs, deliver the future work skills required and promote fit for purpose regulation. NERA is one of six Growth Centres established by the Australian Government under the Industry Growth Centres Initiative. To learn more visit

About Industry Growth Centres

The Industry Growth Centres Initiative is an industry-led approach driving innovation, productivity and competitiveness by focusing on areas of competitive strength and strategic priority. This will help Australia transition into smart, high value and export focused industries. The Initiative enables national action on key issues such as collaboration, commercialisation, international engagement, skills and regulation reform. It drives excellence, not dependence, and will create an economy that ensures Australia’s ongoing prosperity. For more information:

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