Greenhouse Gas Geological Sequestration Act 2008 (Victorian Onshore Act)

Jurisdiction(s)
Instrument Date
2008
Effective Date
See Section 2
Instrument Type
Primary
Relevant Regulatory Authority
Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources
Purpose and Context
The purpose of the Victorian Onshore Act is stated in section 1 as being “to facilitate and regulate the injection of greenhouse gas substances into underground geological formations for the purpose of permanent storage of those gases, including to facilitate and regulate the exploration for suitable underground geological storage formations, as part of Victoria’s commitment to the reduction of atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions.” The objectives of the Act are outlined in Section 7. 
Relevant links
Associated instruments

Greenhouse Gas Geological Sequestration Regulations 2009

Instrument Access Date
4 May 2012
I. Regulatory scope and definitions
Definitions

Article/Section No.

Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6

Instrument Text

3         Definitions

In this Act—

authority means an exploration permit, a retention lease, an injection and monitoring licence or a special access authorisation;

community includes persons who hold, or may hold, native title;

Crown land means land that is, or that is by any Act deemed to be, unalienated land of the Crown, and includes—

(a)      land of the Crown that is reserved permanently or temporarily by or under any Act; and

(b)      land of the Crown occupied by a person under a lease, licence or other right under this

or any other Act—

but does not include—

(c)      native title land that is not also wilderness Crown land; or

(d)      land that is subject to a licence granted under Part 3A of the Victorian Plantations Corporation Act 1993;

Department means the Department of Primary Industries;

environment includes water;

Environment Protection Authority has the same meaning as Authority has under the Environment Protection Act 1970;

exploration permit means an exploration permit granted under section 25;

greenhouse gas sequestration formation exploration has the meaning set out in section 4;

greenhouse gas sequestration infrastructure facility means a facility that is used to enable the injection of a greenhouse gas substance into an underground geological storage formation;

greenhouse gas sequestration operation means any activity relating to—

(a)      greenhouse gas sequestration formation exploration; or

(b)      greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring;

greenhouse gas substance means—

(a)      carbon dioxide, whether in a gaseous or liquid state; or

(b)      a prescribed greenhouse gas, whether in a gaseous or liquid state; or

(c)      a mixture of any or all of the following substances—

(i)       carbon dioxide, whether in a gaseous or liquid state;

(ii)      one or more prescribed greenhouse gases, whether in a gaseous or liquid state;

(iii)     one or more incidental greenhouse gas-related substances, whether in a gaseous

or liquid state, that relate to either or both of the substances mentioned in

subparagraphs (i) and (ii);

(iv)     a prescribed detection agent, whether in a gaseous or liquid state— so long as—

(v)      the mixture consists overwhelmingly of either or both of the substances

mentioned in subparagraphs (i) and (ii); and (vi)           if the mixture includes a prescribed detection agent, the concentration of the

prescribed detection agent in the mixture is not more than the concentration prescribed in relation to that detection agent;

greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring has the meaning set out in section 5;

improvement notice means a notice issued under section 270;

injection and monitoring licence means a greenhouse gas injection and monitoring licence granted under section 82;

inspector means a person authorised under section 251 to carry out inspections;

land includes a stratum of land;

Native Title Act means the Native Title Act 1993 of the Commonwealth;

native title land means land in which native title (within the meaning of the Native Title Act) may exist;

parks Crown land means any land that is a national, State or other park under the National Parks Act 1975;

private land means land that is not Crown land or native title land;

public authority means—

(a)      a public service body within the meaning of the Public Administration Act 2004; or

(b)      any other body, whether or not incorporated, established by or under an Act for a public

purpose;

public interest means a consideration of any of the following—

(a)      government policy;

(b)      employment creation;

(c)      social impacts;

(d)      the overall environmental benefit for the State of Victoria and Australia in both the

short-term and long-term;

(e)      the overall economic benefit for the State of Victoria, or a part of the State of Victoria,

in both the short-term and long-term;

(f)       impacts on aesthetic, amenity or cultural values;

resource means a resource that a person is entitled to extract or use under a resource authority;

resource authority means an authority under any of the following Acts—

(a)      Extractive Industries Development Act 1995;

(b)      Geothermal Energy Resources Act 2005;

(c)      Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990;

(d)      Petroleum Act 1998;

(e)      Water Act 1989;

restricted Crown land means any land specified in Schedule 3 to the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990;

retention lease means a retention lease granted under section 62;

serious situation has the meaning set out in section 6;

special access authorisation means a special access authorisation granted under section 126;

stratum of land means a part of land consisting of a space of any shape below, on or above the surface of the land or partly below and partly above the surface of the land, all of the dimensions of which are limited;

underground geological storage formation includes—

(a)      any seal or reservoir of an underground geological formation; and

(b)      any associated geological attributes or features of an underground geological formation;

unit development agreement means an agreement made under Part 6;

unrestricted Crown land means any Crown land other than wilderness Crown land, parks Crown land and restricted Crown land;

vary, in relation to the conditions of an authority, includes adding conditions to, and removing conditions from, the authority;

wilderness Crown land means land that is a reference area under the Reference Areas Act 1978or that is a wilderness zone or wilderness park under the National Parks Act 1975;

work program has the meaning set out in section 148.

4             Meaning of greenhouse gas sequestration formation exploration

Greenhouse gas sequestration formation exploration is the carrying out of one or more of the following activities for the purpose of finding an underground geological storage formation likely to be geologically suitable for the injection and permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance—

(a) carrying out a seismic survey or any other kind of survey;

(b) carrying out a baseline investigation;

(c) taking a sample;

(d) making a well;

(e) injecting, flowing or storing a liquid or gas into a part of an underground geological storage formation;

(f) monitoring the behaviour of a liquid or gas that has been injected or stored in part of an underground geological storage formation;

(g) undertaking any other activity necessary to test the character of an underground geological storage formation, including—

(i) testing the seal and connectivity of an underground geological formation; and

(ii) testing the capacity of an underground geological formation.

5         Meaning of greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring

Greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring is—

(a) the injection of a greenhouse gas substance into an underground geological storage

formation for the purpose of permanently storing that substance underground;

(b) the monitoring and testing of the behaviour of an injected greenhouse gas substance,

including predictive modelling;

(c) any activity incidental to an activity listed in paragraph (a) or (b), including transporta-

tion of a greenhouse gas substance within an injection and monitoring licence area.

6         Meaning of serious situation

A serious situation exists in relation to an underground geological storage formation if—

(a) a greenhouse gas substance that has been injected into an underground geological

storage formation has leaked or will leak; or

(b) a greenhouse gas substance has leaked or will leak in the course of being injected into

an underground geological storage formation; or

(c) a greenhouse gas substance injected into an underground geological storage formation

has behaved or will behave otherwise than as predicted in the approved injecting testing plan or the approved injection and monitoring plan applying to that underground geological storage formation; or

(d) the injection or storage of a greenhouse gas substance into an underground geological storage formation has had or will have a significant impact on the geotechnical integrity of the whole or a part of a geological formation or geological structure; or

(e) the underground geological storage formation is not suitable for the permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance as set out in the approved injection and monitoring plan.

Composition of CO2 stream

Summary

Section 3 of the Victorian Onshore Act requires CO2 streams for injection to be either pure or consist “overwhelmingly” of CO2.

CO2 streams may, however, also contain incidental related substances and detection agents, provided that, where the CO2 stream contains a prescribed detection agent, the concentration of that agent does not exceed prescribed levels.

The Victorian Onshore Act also applies to greenhouse gases other than CO2 that may be considered for injection and storage. 

Article/Section No.

Section 3

Instrument Text

3. Definitions

In this Act-

greenhouse gas substance means—

(a)      carbon dioxide, whether in a gaseous or liquid state; or

(b)      a prescribed greenhouse gas, whether in a gaseous or liquid state; or

(c)      a mixture of any or all of the following substances—

(i)    carbon dioxide, whether in a gaseous or liquid state;

(ii)  one or more prescribed greenhouse gases, whether in a gaseous or liquid state;

(iii) one or more incidental greenhouse gas-related substances, whether in a gaseous

or liquid state, that relate to either or both of the substances mentioned in

subparagraphs (i) and (ii);

(iv) a prescribed detection agent, whether in a gaseous or liquid state— so long as—

(v)  the mixture consists overwhelmingly of either or both of the substances

mentioned in subparagraphs (i) and (ii); and

(vi)        if the mixture includes a prescribed detection agent, the concentration of the prescribed detection agent in the mixture is not more than the concentration prescribed in relation to that detection agent.

Geographical coverage, exclusions and prohibitions

Summary

Section 11 of the Victorian Onshore Act provides that the Act applies only to onshore CO2 storage formations (offshore storage formations are governed by the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2010).

The Minister may also declare under section 12 that any land or class of land cannot be used for CO2 sequestration.

Section 192 prohibits CO2 storage activities in a range of protected marine and terrestrial environments, such as declared marine sanctuaries and national parks. 

Article/Section No.

Section 11
Section 12
Section 192

Instrument Text

11      Non-application of Act

This Act does not apply to an underground geological storage formation that is within the area defined as the offshore area in the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2010.

12      Minister may declare land not to be used for greenhouse gas sequestration

(1) The Minister may, by notice published in the Government Gazette and recorded in the greenhouse gas sequestration register, declare that any land or class of land is not to be used for a greenhouse gas sequestration operation.

(2) The Minister may make a declaration—

(a) to protect the land for significant environmental reasons; or

(b) to protect significant commercial or economic operations or activities; or

(c) for any other reason the Minister considers to be appropriate.

(3) The Minister, by notice published in the Government Gazette and recorded in the greenhouse gas sequestration register, may revoke any declaration made under this section.

[…]

192   Operations on wilderness land barred

(1) A person must not carry out any greenhouse gas sequestration operations on land that is a marine national park, a marine sanctuary, a reference area under the Reference Areas Act 1978or a wilderness zone or wilderness park under the National Parks Act 1975.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

(2) No authority granted under this Act can authorise any activity prohibited by subsection (1).

II. The scope and management of rights
Property rights

Summary

With regard to storage complexes and sites, section 14 of the Victorian Onshore Act provides that, except with respect to geological storage formations within 15.24 metres of the land surface, the Crown:

  1. owns all underground geological storage formations below the surface of any land in Victoria; and
  2. is not liable to pay compensation for any loss caused by this provision.

With regard to CO2, section 16 provides that, if an injection and monitoring licence is cancelled or surrendered, the State takes ownership of any CO2 that has been injected for storage under that licence.

Article/Section No.

Section 14
Section 15
Section 16

Instrument Text

14      Underground geological storage formation is the property of the Crown

(1) The Crown owns all underground geological storage formations below the surface of any land in Victoria.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in relation to any land (other than Crown land) to the extent that the underground geological storage formation is within 15·24 metres of the surface of the land.

(3) Subsection (1) applies despite any prior alienation of Crown land.

(4) The Crown is not liable to pay any compensation in respect of a loss caused by the operation of this

section.

15      Crown retains Crown land rights

In conferring any grant, lease, licence or other tenure of any Crown land after the commencement of this section on any person, the Crown retains all rights that it has in relation to any underground geological storage formation below the surface of that land, unless otherwise stated in the document by which the grant, lease, licence or other tenure is conferred.

16      Ownership of greenhouse gas substance

If an injection and monitoring licence is cancelled or surrendered, the Crown becomes the owner of any greenhouse gas substance that has been injected into an underground geological formation under that licence.

Competition with other Interests

Summary

Section 96 of the Victorian Onshore Act provides that the Minister must not approve an injection and monitoring plan unless satisfied that, among other things, use of the relevant formation for CO2 injection and storage will not present a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources in the licence area.

In situations where there is a significant risk of such resource contamination or sterilisation, under section 98 the injection and monitoring plan may still be approved if:

  1. the holders of other resource authorities in the licence area have given their consent (which must be sought in accordance with section 99); or
  2. the Minister considers that approval of the plan is in the public interest.

Where approval is granted, under section 104 CO2 injection and monitoring cannot commence until compensation arrangements have been made either by agreement or administrative determination. The amount of any compensation must be determined in accordance with section 105.

Similar approval and compensation requirements apply in respect of:

  1. injection testing, under sections 40, 42, 43, and 48; and
  2. section 124 special access arrangements, under sections 135, 137 and 138. 

Article/Section No.

Section 40
Section 42
Section 43
Section 48
Section 49
Section 96
Section 98
Section 99
Section 104
Section 105
Section 135
Section 137
Section 138

Instrument Text

40     Approval of injection testing plan

(1) Subject to section 41, the Minister may approve an injection testing plan if he or she is satisfied that the proposed injection testing—

(a) will not present a risk to public health or the environment; and

(b) will not present a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources in the permit area.

(2) The Minister may approve an injection testing plan under this section subject to any conditions that he or she considers necessary.

(3) The Minister may refer an injection testing plan to an independent panel or any relevant public authority for a recommendation concerning acceptance of the plan.

42      Contamination or sterilisation of a resource

(1) This section applies if, in the opinion of the Minister, the proposed injection testing will present a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources within the permit area but will not present a risk to public health or the environment.

(2) Despite section 40(1)(b), the Minister may approve the plan if—

(a) the holder of an exploration permit has consent to undertake the work proposed in the plan from any holder of a resource authority in the permit area if the resource for which they hold an authority is likely to be contaminated or sterilised; or

(b) in the opinion of the Minister, approval of the plan is in the public interest.

43     Consent of other resource authority holders

An exploration permit holder who proposes to undertake injection testing work that will present a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources in the permit area must take all reasonable steps to obtain consent to undertake that work from any holder of a resource authority in the permit area if the resource for which they hold an authority is likely to be contaminated or sterilised.

Penalty:      240 penalty units.

[…]

48      Compensation agreement

(1) If the Minister has approved an injection testing plan in accordance with section 40, the exploration permit holder must not carry out any work under an approved injection testing plan unless—

(a) the permit holder has entered into a compensation agreement with the holder of a resource authority for a resource in the permit area that is likely to be contaminated or sterilised; or

(b) VCAT has determined the amount of compensation that is payable in relation to the proposed work to the holder of a resource authority for a resource in the permit area that is likely to be contaminated or sterilised.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

(2) A person may only make an application to VCAT in respect of a claim after the expiry of any period of

time specified for the purposes of this section by the regulations.

(3) A party who makes an application to VCAT is only entitled to have that claim determined by VCAT if VCAT is satisfied that the party has attempted to settle the claim by conciliation, but has not been able to do so because the other party has refused to negotiate a settlement or because both parties are unable to agree.

49      What compensation is payable for—resource authority holders

(1) Compensation is payable by the holder of an injection and monitoring licence to any holder of a resource authority for any loss or damage that has been, or will be, sustained in relation to the land or resource as a direct, natural and reasonable consequence of the carrying out of any activity under the injection and monitoring plan including for—

(a) deprivation of access to the resource; and

(b) loss of opportunity to recover or use the resource.

[…]

96      Approval of injection and monitoring plan

(1) The Minister must not approve an injection and monitoring plan unless he or she is satisfied that—

(b) the use of the underground geological storage formation for the injection and permanent storage of greenhouse gas substances will not present a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources within the licence area.

[…]

98      Contamination or sterilisation of a resource

(1) This section applies if, in the opinion of the Minister, the proposed injection and permanent storage of the greenhouse gas substance will present a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources within the licence area but will not present a risk to public health or the environment.

(2) Despite section 96(1)(b), the Minister may approve the plan if—

(a) the injection and monitoring licence holder has consent to undertake the work proposed in the plan from any holder of a resource authority in the licence area if the resource for which they hold an authority is likely to be contaminated or sterilised; or

(b) in the opinion of the Minister, approval of the plan is in the public interest.

 

99      Consent of other resource authority holders

An injection and monitoring licence holder who proposes to undertake work that will present a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources in the licence area must take all reasonable steps to obtain consent to undertake that work from any holder of a resource authority in the licence area if the resource for which they hold an authority is likely to be contaminated or sterilised.

[…]

104   Compensation agreement

(1) If the Minister has approved an injection and monitoring plan in accordance with section 96, the injection and monitoring licence holder must not carry out any activity under an approved injection and monitoring plan unless—

(a) the licence holder has entered into a compensation agreement with the holder of a resource authority for a resource in the licence area that is likely to be contaminated or sterilised; or

(b) VCAT has determined the amount of compensation that is payable in relation to the proposed work to the holder of a resource authority for a resource in the licence area that is likely to be contaminated or sterilised.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

(2) A person may only make an application to VCAT in respect of a claim after the expiry of any period of

time specified for the purposes of this section by the regulations.

(3) A party who makes an application to VCAT is only entitled to have that claim determined by VCAT if VCAT is satisfied that the party has attempted to settle the claim by conciliation, but has not been able to do so because the other party has refused to negotiate a settlement or because both parties are unable to agree.

 

105   What compensation is payable for—resource authority holders

Compensation is payable by the holder of an injection and monitoring licence to any holder of a resource authority for any loss or damage that has been, or will be, sustained in relation to the land or resource as a direct, natural and reasonable consequence of the carrying out of any activity under the injection and monitoring plan including for—

(a)      deprivation of access to the resource; and

(b)      loss of opportunity to recover or use the resource.

135 Approval of special access well plan

(1) Subject to section 136, the Minister may approve a special access well plan if he or she is satisfied that the proposed well—

(a) will not present a risk to public health or the environment; and

(b) will not present a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising resources in the authority area.

(2) The Minister may approve a special access well plan under this section subject to any conditions that he or she considers necessary.

(3) The Minister may refer a special access well plan to an independent panel or any relevant public authority for a recommendation concerning acceptance of the plan.

[…]

137   Contamination or sterilisation of a resource

(1) This section applies if, in the opinion of the Minister, the making of the proposed well will present a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources within the authority area but will not present a risk to public health or the environment.

(2) Despite section 135(1)(b), the Minister may approve the special access well plan if—

(a) the holder of a special access authorisation has consent to make the proposed well from any holder of a resource authority in the special access area if the resource for which they hold an authority is likely to be contaminated or sterilised; or

(b) in the opinion of the Minister, approval of the plan is in the public interest.

138   Consent of other resource authority holders

A special access authority holder who proposes to make a well that will present a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources in the special access area must take all reasonable steps to obtain consent to undertake that work from any holder of a resource authority in the special access area if the resource for which they hold an authority is likely to be contaminated or sterilised.

Third party access to storage sites

Summary

Part 5 Division 8 of the Victorian Onshore Act provides for third parties and existing injection and monitoring licence holders to enter into agreements for the injection and storage of CO2 in a storage site in the existing licence area, provided the agreement conforms with the licence and the Act more broadly (see section 113).

If the parties cannot reach such an agreement, under section 114 the third party can apply to the Minister for a binding direction for the third party to inject and store CO2 in the relevant storage formation, provided various conditions are satisfied.

The existing licence holder will, however, be entitled to compensation under section 118 in respect of such third party access. 

Article/Section No.

Section 113
Section 114
Section 115
Section 116
Section 117
Section 118

Instrument Text

113   Agreement to store greenhouse gas substance

(1) An injection and monitoring licence holder may enter into an agreement with any person for or in relation to the injection and permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance in an underground geological storage formation in the licence area.

(2) An agreement under this section must not be inconsistent with this Act or the licence.

114   Minister may direct licence holder to store greenhouse gas substance

(1) If a licence holder fails to enter an agreement under section 113, the person seeking that agreement (the applicant) may apply in writing to the Minister for a direction under subsection (2).

(2) The Minister may direct the holder of a greenhouse gas injection and monitoring licence to inject and permanently store a greenhouse gas substance in an underground geological storage formation in the licence area if the Minister is satisfied that—

(a) the underground geological storage formation has the capacity to store the greenhouse gas substance owned by the applicant; and

(b) the composition of the greenhouse gas substance owned by the applicant is geologically suitable for injection and permanent storage in the underground geological storage formation; and

(c) injecting the applicant’s greenhouse gas substance will not significantly interfere with the activities of the licence holder being carried out under the licence; and

(d) the injection and permanent storage of the applicant’s greenhouse gas substance in the underground geological storage formation is in the public interest.

(3) The Minister must consult with the licence holder before giving a direction under subsection (2).

115   Licence holder must comply with directions

The holder of a greenhouse gas injection and monitoring licence must comply with a direction given under section 114.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

116   Minister may amend licence

Despite anything to the contrary in this Act, the Minister may amend a greenhouse gas injection and monitoring licence (including any condition of the licence) for the purpose of giving effect to a direction given under section 114.

117   Revised injection and monitoring plan

If the Minister gives a direction under section 114, the licence holder must submit a revised injection and monitoring plan for approval in accordance with Division 6.

118   Compensation of licence holder

(1)      If the Minister gives a direction under section 114, the licence holder is not required to inject and permanently store a greenhouse gas substance unless—

(a) the applicant has entered into a compensation agreement with the licence holder; or

(b) VCAT has determined the amount of compensation that is payable to the licence holder in relation to the direction.

(2) A person may only make an application to VCAT in respect of a claim after the expiry of any period of time specified for the purposes of this section by the regulations.

(3) A party who makes an application to VCAT is only entitled to have that claim determined by VCAT if VCAT is satisfied that the party has attempted to settle the claim by conciliation, but has not been able to do so because the other party has refused to negotiate a settlement or because both parties are unable to agree.

Public participation

Summary

<p>Section 7 of the Victorian Onshore Act states that the Act expressly seeks to establish a regulatory regime capable of ensuring effective public consultation and access to information regarding CO<sub>2 </sub>storage activities undertaken in Victoria.</p> <p>To this end, section 152 establishes a general obligation for authority holders to consult with communities and municipal councils throughout the period of the authority, both by sharing relevant information and providing opportunities to respond.</p> <p>Under section 153, applications for authorities not required to prepare an Environment Effects Statement under the Environment Effects Act 1978 must instead include a community consultation plan prepared in accordance with section 154, which in turn must be approved by the Minister in accordance with section 155 prior to issuance of any permit. Where the authority is granted, copies of the approved community consultation plan must be provided to the community in accordance with section 156.</p> <p>Community consultation and conference requirements also apply:</p> <ol> <li>for proposed injection testing plans, under sections 46 and 47; and</li> <li>for proposed injection and monitoring plans, under sections 102 and 103.</li> </ol> <p>In addition, the Part 6 Division 1 of the Act requires the Minister to establish a publicly accessible greenhouse gas sequestration register, which sets outs relevant information in relation to CO<sub>2</sub> storage permits and activities.</p>

Article/Section No.

Section 7(c)(ii)
Section 46
Section 47
Section 102
Section 103
Section 152
Section 153
Section 154
Section 155
Section 156
Section 281
Section 282
Section 283
Section 284
Section 285
Section 286
Section 287
Section 288
Section 289
Section 290

Instrument Text

7         Objectives

The objectives of this Act are to encourage and promote greenhouse gas sequestration operations for the benefit of all Victorians by—

(c) establishing a legal framework for the regulation of greenhouse gas sequestration

operations aimed at ensuring that—

(ii) consultation mechanisms are effective and appropriate access to information

regarding greenhouse gas sequestration operations is provided.

[…]

46      Community consultation

(1) This section applies if an applicant for approval of an injection testing plan is not required to undertake an Environmental Effects Statement in accordance with the Environment Effects Act 1978in respect of the works proposed in the plan.

(2) The Minister must, on receiving an application for approval of an injection testing plan, cause to be published in a newspaper circulating generally throughout Victoria a notice providing—

(a) that the Minister has received an application for approval of an injection testing plan; and

(b) details of the place or places at which a copy or a summary of the application and a copy or summary of the accompanying plan may be examined; and

(c) that any person or body interested in the application may request and on payment of the prescribed fee receive from the Minister a summary of the application; and

(d) that any person or body interested in the application may within 21 days of the publication of the notice comment in writing on the application; and

(e) that any person or body interested in the application may ask the Minister in writing to be notified if the Minister approves the injection testing plan.

(3) At the expiration of 21 days from the publication of a notice under subsection (2) the Minister may if any written comments have been received from any person or body interested in the application in accordance with subsection (2)(d) hold a conference in accordance with section 47.

(4) The Minister must consider any written comments received under subsection (2)(d) before approving an injection testing plan.

(5) If the Minister receives a request under subsection (2)(e), the Minister must notify the person or body that made the request that it has approved the injection testing plan by—

(a) sending notice of the issue to the person and body (or if a request is made by a number of people or bodies jointly, to a representative of those people or bodies); or

(b) publishing notice of the issue in a newspaper circulating generally throughout Victoria.

47      Conferences

(1) If the Minister is of the opinion that a conference of persons concerned in any matter under consideration by the Minister may assist in a just resolution of the matter, the Minister may invite all or any of the interested parties to a conference.

(2) All persons invited to attend a conference under this section must be advised in writing of the time and place at which the conference is to be held.

(3) A conference held under this section must be presided over by the Minister or a person nominated by the Minister for the purpose.

(4) The Minister must take into consideration the discussions and resolutions of any conference under this section and the recommendations of any person presiding at that conference.

[…]

102   Community consultation

(1) This section applies if an applicant for approval of an injection and monitoring plan is not required to undertake an Environmental Effects Statement in accordance with the Environment Effects Act 1978in respect of the works proposed in the plan.

(2) The Minister must, on receiving an application for approval of an injection and monitoring plan, cause to be published in a newspaper circulating generally throughout Victoria a notice providing—

(a) that the Minister has received an application for approval of an injection and monitoring plan; and

(b) details of the place or places at which a copy or a summary of the application and a copy or summary of the accompanying plan may be examined; and

(c) that any person or body interested in the application may request and on payment of the prescribed fee receive from the Minister a summary of the application; and

(d) that any person or body interested in the application may within 21 days of the publication of the notice comment in writing on the application; and

(e) that any person or body interested in the application may ask the Minister in writing to be notified if the Minister approves the injection and monitoring plan.

(3) At the expiration of 21 days from the publication of a notice under subsection (2) the Minister may if any written comments have been received from any person or body interested in the application in accordance with subsection (2)(d) hold a conference in accordance with section 103.

(4) The Minister must consider any written comments received under subsection (2)(d) before approving an injection testing plan.

(5) If the Minister receives a request under subsection (2)(e), the Minister must notify the person or body that made the requests that it has approved the injection and monitoring plan by—

(a) sending notice of the issue to the person or body (or if a request is made by a number of people or bodies jointly, to a representative of those people or bodies); or

(b) publishing notice of the issue in a newspaper circulating generally throughout Victoria.

103   Conferences

(1) If the Minister is of the opinion that a conference of persons concerned in any matter under consideration by the Minister may assist in a just resolution of the matter, the Minister may invite all or any of the interested parties to a conference.

(2) All persons invited to attend a conference under this section must be advised in writing of the time and place at which the conference is to be held.

(3) A conference held under this section must be presided over by the Minister or a person nominated by the Minister for the purpose.

(4) The Minister must take into consideration the discussions and resolutions of any conference under this section and the recommendations of any person presiding at that conference.

[…]

152   Duty to consult with the community

The holder of an authority has a duty to consult with the community and relevant municipal councils throughout the period of the authority by—

(a) sharing with the community and relevant municipal councils information about any activities authorised by the authority that may affect the community; and

(b) giving members of the community and relevant municipal councils a reasonable opportunity to express their views about those activities.

153   Community consultation plan

(1) A holder of an authority must submit to the Minister a community consultation plan and a list of stakeholders if the holder has not previously prepared an Environment Effects Statement under the Environment Effects Act 1978in relation to the activities that are to be carried out under the authority.

(1A)   The community consultation plan must be submitted to the Minister—

(a) within 90 days of the grant of the authority; or

(b) before carrying out an activity under the authority—

whichever is the earlier.

(2) The purpose of a community consultation plan is to detail how the holder of an authority will consult with members of the community and relevant municipal councils during the life of the authority.

(3) A community consultation plan may only be submitted after the holder of an authority has consulted with members of the community and relevant municipal councils in relation to the content of the proposed plan.

154   Requirements for community consultation plan

(1) A community consultation plan must include—

(a) general information about the types of activities the holder of the authority intends to carry out; and

(b) information about how any potential adverse impacts on the public health and the

environment that may result from those activities will be managed; and

(c) details of the procedures that are to be followed under this Act and any other Act to permit the proposed activities; and

(d) a statement—

(i) advising that members of the community and relevant municipal councils may seek independent legal advice on the proposed activities; and

(ii) setting out the current contact information for the Department and the holder of the authority.

(2)      The Minister may publish guidelines concerning the preparation of community consultation plans.

155   Minister to approve community consultation plan

(1) The Minister must within 21 days of receiving a community consultation plan from a holder of an authority advise the holder of whether or not the plan is adequate.

(2) If the Minister advises that the community consultation plan is not adequate, the holder of the authority may—

(a) submit a new community consultation plan to the Minister; or

(b) submit amendments to the community consultation plan to the Minister.

(3) If a new community consultation plan or amendments to a community consultation plan are submitted to the Minister under subsection (2), the Minister must within 21 days after receiving the plan or amendments advise the holder of the authority whether or not the new community consultation plan or the community consultation plan as amended is adequate.

156   Plan to be provided to community

A holder of the authority must within 21 days provide a copy of the community consultation plan to any members of the community and each relevant municipal council who may be affected by the activities proposed to be carried out under the authority.

[…]

281   Greenhouse gas sequestration register

(1) The Minister must cause a greenhouse gas sequestration register to be established and maintained.

(2) The Minister must record the following in the greenhouse gas sequestration register—

(a) authorities;

(b) variations, cancellations, suspensions, extensions, or the surrender of all or part of an

authority or the conditions of an authority;

(c) any part of an agreement that purports to create, transfer, assign, devolve or affect any

interest in, or conferred by, an authority;

(d) unit development agreements;

(e) the volume of greenhouse gas substances that are permitted to be injected into an

underground geological storage formation under an authority;

(f) the actual volumes of greenhouse gas substances that are injected into underground

geological storage formation by holders of an authority;

(g) the details of any exemption of land from the application of this Act and any revocation

of that exemption;

(h) copies of any reports on the outcome of all monitoring and verification activities carried

out under an injection and monitoring licence.

(3) The Minister, by notice published in the Government Gazette, may also require that a document of a

specified kind relating to an authority be registered. (4) The greenhouse gas sequestration register may be kept electronically.

282 Need for registration

The items specified in sections 281(2)(a) to 281(2)(d) and section 281(3) have no effect until a document that is in a form specified, or approved, by the Minister and that contains evidence of the item is registered in the greenhouse gas sequestration register.

283 Entries in register on devolution of title

(1) The devolution by operation of law of any rights under an authority, or any interest in, or conferred by, an authority, has no effect until a document in a form approved by the Minister that provides evidence of the devolution is registered in the greenhouse gas sequestration register.

(2) Subsection (1) applies despite anything to the contrary in any Act or rule of law.

(3) Nothing in this section limits any discretion conferred on the Minister by Division 3 of Part 9.

284 Registration

(1) To register a document, the Minister must— (a) either—

(i) enter details of the document in the greenhouse gas sequestration register; or

(ii) lodge a copy of the document in the register; and

(b) enter in the register the date the details were entered or the document was lodged; and

(c) give the person who sought registration of the document a copy of the document endorsed with a notation that the document has been registered and details of the date and time entered in the register under paragraph (b).

(2) The Minister may—

(a) determine what details of a document are to be lodged in the register;

(b) require that documents of a particular type be in a specified form before accepting them for registration;

(c) require that documents of a particular type contain specified information before accepting them for registration.

285 Effect of registration

The registration of a document does not give any right, interest or dealing that is evidenced by that document any force or effect that the right, interest or dealing would not have had if this Part had not been enacted.

286   Inspection of register and documents

(1) On the payment of any fee required by the regulations, a person may inspect the greenhouse gas sequestration register and any documents that form part of the register at any time that the office in which the register is kept is open for business.

(2) On the payment of any fee required by the regulations, a person may obtain a copy of any entry or document in the greenhouse gas sequestration register.

287 Minister's certificates

(1) A certificate certifying as to any matter relating to the contents of the greenhouse gas sequestration register and purporting to be signed by the Minister is admissible in evidence in any proceeding as evidence of the matter certified.

(2) The Minister may supply such a certificate to any person who applies for the certificate and pays any fee required by the regulations for the purposes of this section.

288 Minister may make corrections to register

(1) The Minister may alter the greenhouse gas sequestration register to correct a clerical error or an obvious defect in the register.

(2) The Minister may, on application being made in writing to the Minister by a person or on his or her own initiative, make any entries in the register that the Minister considers appropriate for the purposes of ensuring that the register accurately records the interests and rights existing in relation to an authority.

(3) The Minister must give the holder of the authority to which an alteration relates written details of the alteration.

289 Right to review of register entries

(1) A person may apply to VCAT for a review of the Minister's decision to make or vary an entry in the greenhouse gas sequestration register under section 288.

(2) An application for a review must be made within 28 days after the later of—

(a) the day on which the decision is made;

(b) if, under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998, the person requests a statement of reasons for the decision, the day on which the statement of reasons is given to the person or the person is informed under section 46(5) of that Act that a statement of reasons will not be given.

290 Offences relating to the register

A person must not wilfully—

(a) make, cause to be made, or concur in making, a false entry in the greenhouse gas sequestration register; or

(b) produce or tender in evidence a document falsely purporting to be a copy of, or extract from, an entry in the register or of or from a document lodged with the Minister under this Part.

Penalty:           120 penalty units.

III. Permitting storage site exploration, project development and CO2 injection
Permitting exploration activities

Summary

Exploration permits

Section 17 of the Victorian Onshore Act provides that is an offence to explore for CO2 storage formations in Victoria, except:

  1. in accordance with an authority issued under the Act; or
  2. as otherwise permitted by the Act.

Under section 19, an exploration permit, once issued, will entitle the permit holder to: 

  1. carry out exploration in the permit area; and
  2. do any thing in the permit area that is necessary for or incidental to that purpose.

Exploration permits do not, however, permit the extraction of resources discovered in the course of exploration (see section 20), and must be accompanied by an approved injection testing plan before any injection can take place (see section 37).

Under section 22, the Minister may invite applications for exploration permits in respect of specified areas. Permit applications are required under section 23 to include a work program describing the key objectives of the proposed exploration activities, as well as technical and financial details.

The Minister must determine whether to grant exploration permits in accordance with the factors set out in section 24, and either grant or refuse the permit in accordance with section 25.

Exploration permits:

  1. apply in respect of a continuous parcel of land, and must not infringe upon any area already subject to an exploration permit (see section 28);
  2. endure for five years from the date of their registration in accordance with Part 6 Division (see section 30); and
  3. may be renewed once for a further five years (see section 31). 

Where an exploration permit holder discovers a site suitable for CO2 storage, section 56 requires the permit holder to immediately notify this information to the Minister, following which the Minister may, under section 57:

  1. require the permit holder to apply for a retention lease or injection and monitoring licence; or
  2. if the permit holder fails to so apply, cancel the exploration permit.

Retention leases

Where an exploration permit holder identifies a storage formation that is likely to be suitable for CO2 storage, but considers that actual injection and storage is not yet commercially viable but may become viable within the next fifteen years, the permit holder can apply under Part 4 of the Act for a retention lease in respect of the formation.

Under section 59, a retention lease entitles the lease holder to:

  1. further explore the relevant formation;
  2. do anything necessary for incidental to that exploration; and
  3. retain the right to apply for an injection and monitoring licence for the formation in accordance with the Act.

An application for a retention lease must be made at least ninety days before the applicant’s exploration licence expires (see section 60(2)), and conform with the requirements set out in section 61.

Under section 66, retention leases can endure for a maximum period of five years, and under section 67 can be renewed for a further five years a maximum of two times.

If the Minister considers that sequestration and storage in a formation covered by a retention lease may already be commercially viable, the lease holder may be required under section 70 to apply for an injection and monitoring licence in respect of the lease area. 

Article/Section No.

Section 17
Section 19
Section 20
Section 21
Section 22
Section 23
Section 24
Section 25
Section 26
Section 27
Section 28
Section 29
Section 30
Section 31
Section 32
Section 33
Section 34
Section 35
Section 36
Section 37
Section 56
Section 57
Section 58
Section 59
Section 60
Section 61
Section 62
Section 63
Section 64
Section 65
Section 66
Section 67
Section 68
Section 69
Section 70

Instrument Text

17      Offence to explore for greenhouse gas sequestration formations unless authorised

A person must not carry out any greenhouse gas sequestration formation exploration activity in Victoria except—

(a) under, and in accordance with, an authority; or

(b) as otherwise permitted by this Act.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

[…]

19      Rights conferred by exploration permit

(1) An exploration permit authorises the holder of the permit, subject to and in accordance with the conditions of the permit—

(a) to carry out greenhouse gas sequestration exploration in the permit area; and

(b) to do any thing in that area that is necessary for, or incidental to, that purpose.

(2) If the holder of an exploration permit discovers an underground geological storage formation in the permit area that is likely to be geologically suitable for the permanent storage of a greenhouse gas

substance, the holder has the right to apply for the grant of—

(a) an injection and monitoring licence; or

(b) a greenhouse gas sequestration formation retention lease.

20      Extraction of resources

The grant of an exploration permit does not entitle the permit holder to extract any resource that is discovered while carrying out greenhouse gas sequestration exploration under this Act.

21      Key objects of work program

(1) In addition to the requirements set out in section 148, the key objects of the work program applying to

the holder of an exploration permit are—

(a) to establish the characteristics and the extent of any underground geological storage formation in the permit area; and

(b) to assess the feasibility of injecting a greenhouse gas substance into an underground geological storage formation; and

(c) to assess the suitability of an underground geological storage formation for the permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance; and

(d) to ensure that greenhouse gas sequestration exploration is carried out in a manner that—

(i) protects the integrity of the underground geological storage formation; and

(ii) protects public health and the environment from the impact of greenhouse gas

sequestration exploration.

(2) The holder of an exploration permit must ensure that the key objects of the work program specified in subsection (1) are achieved to the maximum extent that is practicable.

22      Minister may invite tender applications for exploration permits

(1) The Minister may invite applications for an exploration permit to explore a specified area, including a stratum of land.

(2) The invitation must specify—

(a) the chief factors that will be considered by the Minister in assessing applications; and

(b) a date by which applications must be made.

23      Application for permits

In addition to complying with section 147, an applicant for an exploration permit must submit details of—

(a) the work program proposed by the applicant; and

(b) details of the applicant’s relevant technical qualifications and of the relevant technical qualifications of the applicant’s employees; and

(c) details of the relevant technical advice available to the applicant; and

(d) details of the financial resources available to the applicant.

24     Chief factors to be taken into account in deciding between competing applications

(1) This section applies if more than one application is received in respect of an area and the Minister decides to grant an exploration permit in respect of the area.

(2) In determining which applicant, if any, is to be granted the permit, the chief factors the Minister must take into account are—

(a) the respective merits of the work programs proposed by the applicants; and

(b) the likelihood that the work programs will be carried out.

(3) The chief factors in this section are in addition to the chief factors specified in the invitation under section 22(2).

25     Grant of exploration permit

(1) The Minister may grant or refuse to grant an exploration permit.

(2) If the Minister decides to grant an exploration permit, he or she must give every unsuccessful applicant for the permit written notice of that decision within 14 days after making it.

(3) If the Minister decides not to grant an exploration permit to any of the applicants for the permit, he or she must notify all applicants in writing of that decision.

26     Minister may make new grant if former grant refused

(1) This section applies if the Minister decides to grant an exploration permit to an applicant who responded to an invitation under section 22 but who subsequently states in writing that the applicant does not intend to accept the grant.

(2) The Minister may grant the permit to any other applicant for the permit.

(3) This section applies regardless of how many times the Minister has decided to grant the permit.

27     Procedure if initial invitation does not result in the granting of a permit

(1) The Minister may invite further applications for an exploration permit for an area if—

(a) no applications are received in response to an invitation made under section 22 for that area; or

(b) the Minister refuses to grant an exploration permit to any applicant who responded to such an invitation; or

(c) no applicant who responded to such an invitation is willing to accept the grant of the exploration permit by the Minister.

(2) Sections 22(2), 23, 25 and 26 apply to applications made in response to an invitation under subsection (1).

(3) If more than one application is received, the Minister must consider the applications in the order in which they were received.

28      Restrictions on permit area

In issuing an exploration permit, the Minister must ensure—

(a) that the area to which the permit applies forms a continuous parcel of land; and

(b) that no part of the area to which the permit applies is within an area that is already the

subject of an exploration permit.

29     Permit may be limited to a stratum of land

(1) An exploration permit may be granted— (a) for a stratum of land; or (b) without being limited to a particular stratum.

(2) The Minister must not grant a permit for a stratum of land unless he or she determines that it is in the public interest.

30      Term of permit

An exploration permit expires on the fifth anniversary of the day on which it is registered in the greenhouse gas sequestration register, unless it is cancelled or surrendered earlier or unless this Act otherwise provides.

31      Renewal of permit

(1) The Minister may renew an exploration permit for a further 5 years from the date of its expiry.

(2) A renewed exploration permit expires on the tenth anniversary of the day on which the initial permit was registered in the greenhouse gas sequestration register, unless it is otherwise cancelled or surrendered or

unless this Act otherwise provides.

(3) The Minister may only renew an exploration permit once.

32      Application for renewal

(1) The holder of an exploration permit may apply to the Minister for renewal of the permit.

(2) A renewal application must be given to the Minister at least 90 days before the exploration permit is due

to expire.

(3) On the payment of any late fee required by the regulations for the purposes of this section, the Minister may also consider any application for renewal that does not comply with subsection (2). (4) However, the Minister must not consider any application to renew an exploration permit that is made after the permit has expired.

33      Other factors to be considered in renewing permits

(1) The Minister must renew an exploration permit if—

(a) the holder of the permit applies for the renewal in the form and manner required by the

Minister; and

(b) the application is accompanied by the renewal fee set out in the regulations for the

purposes of this paragraph; and

(c) the permit holder has complied with the conditions of the permit and all applicable

laws; and

(d) the application is accompanied by details of the work program the holder of the permit

proposes to undertake if the permit is renewed; and

(e) the Minister is satisfied that the proposed work program is adequate.

(2) In any other case the Minister may renew a permit if he or she is satisfied that there are special circumstances that justify the renewal of the permit.

34      Permit not to be renewed if key objects not achieved

(1) Despite section 33, the Minister must not renew an exploration permit if the key objects of the work program that were to have been conducted under the permit have not been achieved to the maximum extent that is practicable.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply if the Minister is satisfied that the failure was the result of one or more events that were beyond the control of the holder of the permit.

35     Renewed permit area may be reduced

(1) In renewing an exploration permit, the Minister may reduce the permit area.

(2) The Minister may reduce the permit area under subsection (1) if—

(a) the holder of the permit nominates in the application for renewal under section 32 an area that the holder wishes to relinquish; or

(b) in the opinion of the Minister, it is in the public interest.

36     Variation of work programs for renewed permits

(1) If an exploration permit is renewed, the holder of the permit may apply to the Minister for permission to vary the work program.

(2) The Minister may allow the holder of the permit to vary the work program if the Minister is satisfied that the variation will improve the work program.

37  When must an injection testing plan be prepared?

(1) The holder of an exploration permit must prepare an injection testing plan before injecting a liquid or gas into an underground geological storage formation for the purpose of—

(a) testing the behaviour of the injected or stored liquid or gas; or

(b) testing whether the geological formation is geologically suitable for permanently

storing greenhouse gas substances.

(2) An injection testing plan must be taken to form part of the operation plan and may be submitted by the holder of an exploration permit—

(a) with the operation plan required under section 209; or

(b) at any later time by submitting a variation to the operation plan under section 212.

[…]

56      Minister must be told if underground geological storage formation discovered

If the holder of an exploration permit discovers an underground geological storage formation that is likely to be geologically suitable for the permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance, the permit holder—

(a) must immediately notify the Minister of the discovery; and

(b) must within 3 working days after the discovery give the Minister written details of the discovery.

Penalty: 120 penalty units.

57      Minister may give directions if underground geological storage formation discovered

(1) This section applies if the Minister is reasonably satisfied that the holder of an exploration permit has discovered an underground geological storage formation that is likely to be geologically suitable for the permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance.

(2) The Minister may require the permit holder to apply for a retention lease or an injection and monitoring licence in respect of the discovery.

(3) The requirement must be made in writing and must allow the permit holder at least 90 days within which to make the application.

(4) If the permit holder fails to comply with a requirement made under this section, the Minister may cancel the permit.

58      Purpose of a retention lease

A retention lease enables the holder of an exploration permit to retain the right to an underground geological storage formation identified as likely to be geologically suitable for the injection and permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance that is not yet commercially viable to develop under an injection and monitoring licence, but which might become viable to develop within 15 years.

59      Rights conferred by lease

A retention lease authorises the holder of the lease, subject to and in accordance with the conditions of the lease—

(a) to carry out greenhouse gas sequestration formation exploration in the lease area; and

(b) to do any thing in the lease area that is necessary for, or incidental to, that purpose; and

(c) to retain a right to apply for an injection and monitoring licence under Division 2 of

Part 5.

60      Right to apply for lease

(1) The holder of an exploration permit may apply to the Minister for the grant of a retention lease in respect of any part of the permit area on which the holder has discovered an underground geological storage formation that is likely to be geologically suitable for the permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance but which was not commercially viable for that purpose on the day on which the application was made.

(2) An application for a retention lease must be made at least 90 days before the applicant’s exploration permit is due to expire.

(3) On the payment of any late fee required by the regulations for the purposes of this section, the Minister may also consider any application for a retention lease that does not comply with subsection (2).

(4) However, the Minister must not consider any application for a retention lease that is made after the exploration permit has expired.

61      Details to be supplied with application

In addition to complying with section 147, an applicant for a retention lease must submit details of—

(a) the area in respect of which the lease is sought; and

(b) the geological suitability of the underground storage formation for the permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance; and

(c) the commercial viability of injecting and permanently storing a greenhouse gas substance in the geological formation at the time at which the application is made; and

(d) the possible future commercial viability of injecting and permanently storing a green- house gas substance in that geological formation.

62      Grant of lease

(1)      The Minister may grant or refuse to grant a retention lease.

(2) The Minister must grant a retention lease if he or she is satisfied that—

(a) the applicant has discovered an underground geological storage formation in the lease area that is likely to be geologically suitable for the injection and permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance; and

(b) the applicant has demonstrated that any greenhouse gas substance injected into the underground geological storage formation is likely to be contained in the underground geological storage formation; and

(c) the applicant did not have access to a commercially viable volume of greenhouse gas substance for injection and permanent storage on the day that the application for the lease was made but is likely to have access to such a volume within the next 15 years.

(3)      The Minister must refuse to grant a retention lease if he or she is not satisfied of any of the matters in subsection (2).

63      Work program

In addition to the requirements set out in section 148, the proposed work program must—

(a) outline how the applicant intends to resolve any uncertainty in relation to the geological suitability of the underground geological storage formation for the permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance; and

(b) outline the work that the applicant intends to carry out in order to identify an underground geological storage formation that is geologically suitable for the permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance and which is commercially viable for that purpose.

64      Area to which lease applies

(1) The Minister may grant a retention lease in respect of all or part of the area for which the lease is sought.

(2) In granting a retention lease, the Minister must—

(a) ensure that the lease area is the minimum area necessary—

(i) to cover the maximum extent of the underground geological storage formation identified as being likely to be geologically suitable for the injection and permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance; and

(ii) to enable the future use of any other underground geological storage formation for the injection and permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance; and

(b) allow for the potential migration path of an injected greenhouse gas substance to ensure that the injected greenhouse gas substance is likely to be contained in the lease area or any combined area of a development agreement.

(3) Nothing in this section authorises the Minister to include in the lease area any area that was not within the area to which the lease holder’s exploration permit applied.

65      Permit may be limited to a stratum of land

(1) A retention lease may be granted—

(a) for a stratum of land; or

(b) without being limited to a particular stratum.

(2) The Minister must not grant a lease for a stratum of land unless he or she determines that it is in the public interest.

66      Term of lease

(1) The Minister may grant a retention lease for a period not exceeding 5 years.

(2) A retention lease expires on the date specified by the Minister in the lease, unless it is cancelled or

surrendered or unless this Act otherwise provides.

67      Renewal of lease

(1) The Minister may renew a retention lease for a further period not exceeding 5 years from the date of its expiry.

(2) The Minister may renew a retention lease that has been renewed under subsection (1) for a further period not exceeding 5 years from the date the renewed lease expired.

(3) The Minister may only renew a retention lease under subsection (2) once.

68      Procedure if lease not to be granted

The Minister must not refuse to grant a retention lease unless the Minister—

(a) has given the applicant for the lease not less than 30 days written notice of the Minister’s intention to refuse to grant the lease; and

(b) has served a copy of the notice on any other people that the Minister considers may

have an interest in the refusal; and

(c) has, in the notice—

(i) given detailed reasons for the proposed refusal; and

(ii) invited the person who is given the notice to make any submissions the person

wishes to make by a specified date; and

(d) has considered any submissions made on or before the specified date in response to

such an invitation.

69      Minister may require review of commercial viability

(1) The Minister may require the holder of a retention lease to re-evaluate the commercial viability of injecting and permanently storing a greenhouse gas substance in an underground geological storage formation in the lease area and to report to the Minister in writing the results of the re-evaluation.

(2) In making such a requirement, the Minister—

(a) must give the holder of the lease written notice of the requirement; and

(b) must allow the holder of the lease at least 90 days within which to comply with the requirement.

(3) The Minister may, on the written application of the holder of the lease, allow the holder of the lease

more time within which to comply with a requirement made under this section.

(4) The Minister may not make a requirement under this section if the holder of the lease has already complied with a requirement made under this section on 2 occasions in the 5 years immediately before the making of the requirement.

(5) If the holder of the lease fails to comply with a requirement under this section, the Minister may cancel the lease.

70      Minister may give directions if permanent storage viable

(1) This section applies if, after receiving a report under section 69, the Minister is of the opinion that the permanent storage of a greenhouse gas in an underground geological storage formation in the lease area is commercially viable.

(2) The Minister may require the lease holder to apply for an injection and monitoring licence in respect of the lease area.

(3) Such a requirement must be made in writing and must allow the lease holder at least 90 days within which to make the application.

(4) If the holder of the lease fails to comply with a requirement under this section, the Minister may cancel the lease.

Controls on site selection

Summary

Section 21 of the Victorian Onshore Act requires exploration permit holders to undertake a work program for site characterisation designed to:

  1. establish the characteristics and extent of any underground storage formations in the permit area;
  2. assess the feasibility of injecting CO2 (or another greenhouse gas substance) into any identified storage formations; and
  3. assess the suitability of any identified storage formations for permanent storage, in a manner that protects public health and the environment and will not compromise the integrity of the storage formation.

The Minister is turn required under section 83 to not grant an injection and monitoring licence unless satisfied that, among other things, the relevant storage formation is suitable for CO2 injection and storage, as per the criteria outlined above.

 

Article/Section No.

Section 21
Section 83

Instrument Text

21      Key objects of work program

(1) In addition to the requirements set out in section 148, the key objects of the work program applying to the holder of an exploration permit are—

(a) to establish the characteristics and the extent of any underground geological storage formation in the permit area; and

(b) to assess the feasibility of injecting a greenhouse gas substance into an underground geological storage formation; and to assess the suitability of an underground geological storage formation for the permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance; and to ensure that greenhouse gas sequestration exploration is carried out in a manner that—

(i) protects the integrity of the underground geological storage formation; and

(ii) protects public health and the environment from the impact of greenhouse gas sequestration exploration.

(2) The holder of an exploration permit must ensure that the key objects of the work program specified in subsection (1) are achieved to the maximum extent that is practicable.

[…]

83      Minister to be satisfied of certain matters

(1)      The Minister must not grant an injection and monitoring licence unless the Minister is satisfied that—

(a) the applicant has access to a commercially viable volume of greenhouse gas substance; and

(b) the underground geological storage formation is likely to be geologically suitable for the injection and permanent storage of the identified greenhouse gas substance; and

(c) the greenhouse gas substance is likely to be permanently contained in the area for which the licence is proposed to be granted.

(2) In granting an injection and monitoring licence, the Minister must also consider the chief factors

specified in section 82.

Environmental protection and impact assessment

Summary

Section 7 of the Victorian Onshore Act states that the Act seeks to establish a regulatory regime capable of ensuring that:

  1. the impacts of CO2 storage activities on human health and the environment are minimised;
  2. affected land is rehabilited; and
  3. activities generally are conducted in accordance with principles of sustainable development enumerated in section 8, such as the precautionary principle and the principles of inter- and intra-generational equity.

To this end, the Victorian Onshore Act includes a range of detailed provisions addressing environmental and health risks and impacts. Underpinning these provisions are the principles that:

  1. under section 12, the Minister may declare that any land or class of land cannot be used for CO2 sequestration, in order to protect such land for significant environmental reasons, while under section 192 sequestration activities on certain wilderness lands is prohibited;
  2. CO2 storage activities must not be undertaken where they present a risk to human health or the environment (see e.g. sections 40 and 96);
  3. proposed activities must be subject to careful review by a range of stakeholders, including government energy and environment officials and the public, with revisions made where appropriate (see e.g. sections 41, 52, 53, 97, 109, 136, 144 and 171); and
  4. under section 157, authorities for the undertaking of sequestration activities may be subject to conditions to ensure the protection of human health and/or the environment, and can be cancelled under section 175 if there is a risk to health or the environment;
  5. under section 217, land impacted by CO2 storage activities must be rehabilitated following the completion of injection operations (a rehabilitation bond must be provided under section 222, to ensure performance of this obligation); and
  6. under section 271, the Minister can issue a prohibition notice to stop sequestration activities where there is a risk of significant damage to the environment.

Article/Section No.

Section 7
Section 8
Section 12
Section 21(d)
Section 40
Section 41
Section 52
Section 53
Section 96(1)(d)
Section 97
Section 109
Section 136
Section 144
Section 157(3)
Section 171
Section 175(c)
Section 192
Section 209
Section 217
Section 218
Section 219
Section 220
Section 221
Section 222
Section 223
Section 254
Section 271

Instrument Text

7         Objectives

The objectives of this Act are to encourage and promote greenhouse gas sequestration operations for the benefit of all Victorians by—

(c) establishing a legal framework for the regulation of greenhouse gas sequestration

operations aimed at ensuring that—

(i) greenhouse gas sequestration operations are carried out in ways that minimise

impacts on public health and the environment; and

(iii) land affected by greenhouse gas sequestration operations is rehabilitated; and

(d) ensuring that greenhouse gas sequestration operations are conducted in accordance with the principles of sustainable development.

8         Principles of sustainable development

(1) It is the intention of Parliament that in the administration of this Act regard should be given to the principles of sustainable development.

(2) For the purposes of this Act the principles of sustainable development are that—

(a) individual and community wellbeing and welfare should be enhanced by following a

path of economic development that safeguards the welfare of future generations;

(b) there should be equity within and between generations;

(c) biological diversity should be protected and ecological integrity maintained;

(d) there should be recognition of the need to develop a strong, growing, diversified and

internationally competitive economy that can enhance the capacity for environmental

protection;

(e) measures to be adopted should be cost effective and flexible, not disproportionate to the issues being addressed, including improved valuation, pricing and incentive

mechanisms;

(f) both long and short term economic, environmental, social and equity considerations should be effectively integrated into decision-making;

(g) if there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent

environmental degradation;

(h) decision-making should be guided by—

(i) a careful evaluation to avoid serious or irreversible damage to the environment wherever practicable; and

(ii) an assessment of the risk-weighted consequences of various options;

(i) greenhouse gas sequestration operations should make a positive contribution to regional development and respect the aspirations of the community and of Indigenous peoples;

(j) decisions and actions should provide for community involvement in issues that affect

them.

[…]

12      Minister may declare land not to be used for greenhouse gas sequestration

(1) The Minister may, by notice published in the Government Gazette and recorded in the greenhouse gas sequestration register, declare that any land or class of land is not to be used for a greenhouse gas sequestration operation.

(2) The Minister may make a declaration—

(a) to protect the land for significant environmental reasons.

[…]

21      Key objects of work program

(1)      In addition to the requirements set out in section 148, the key objects of the work program applying to the holder of an exploration permit are—

(d) to ensure that greenhouse gas sequestration exploration is carried out in a manner that—

(i) protects the integrity of the underground geological storage formation; and

(ii) protects public health and the environment from the impact of greenhouse gas sequestration exploration.

[…]

40      Approval of injection testing plan

(1) Subject to section 41, the Minister may approve an injection testing plan if he or she is satisfied that the proposed injection testing—

(a) will not present a risk to public health or the environment; and

(b) will not present a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources in the permit area.

41      Risk to the environment

(1) For the purposes of determining whether proposed injection testing will present a risk to the environment, the Minister must, within 21 days of receiving an injection and testing plan for approval, provide a copy of the proposed plan to—

(a) the Minister administering the Environment Protection Act 1970;

(b) the Minister administering the Water Act 1989;

(c) the Environment Protection Authority.

(2) A person or body referred to in subsection (1) may make a binding recommendation that the injection and testing plan not be approved or be approved subject to conditions if the person or body is of the opinion that—

(a) the work that is proposed to be carried out under the plan will present a risk to the environment; or

(b) the applicant’s proposed risk management plan or monitoring and verification plan in relation to the environment is inadequate.

(3) If a recommendation is made within 40 days after the proposed plan is provided to a person or body under this section, the recommendation is binding on the Minister.

(4) If a person or body requests that the Department provide further information in relation to an application for approval of an injection testing plan, the time in which the person or body may make a recommendation does not include the period from the date that the request for further information is made until the date that the information is received.

[…]

52      Minister to consult

(1) Before requiring the holder of an exploration permit to vary the injection and testing plan and any risk management plan or monitoring and verification plan prepared as part of that plan, the Minister must provide a copy of the proposed variation to—

(a) the Minister administering the Environment Protection Act 1970;

(b) the Minister administering the Water Act 1989;

(c) the Environment Protection Authority.

(2) A person or body referred to in subsection (1) may make a recommendation that the variation to the injection and testing plan not be required or be required subject to conditions if the person or body is of the opinion that—

(a) the work that is proposed to be carried out under the varied plan will present a risk to the environment; or

(b) the details about how any risks to the environment will be managed are inadequate, including details contained in any risk management plan or monitoring and verification plan.

(3) If a recommendation is made within 40 days after the proposed plan is provided to a person or body under this section, the recommendation is binding on the Minister.

(4) If a person or body requests that the Department provide further information in relation to an application for approval of an injection testing plan, the time in which the person or body may make a recommendation does not include the period from the date that the request for further information is made until the date that the information is received.

53      EPA may require variation of monitoring and verification plan

(1) The Environment Protection Authority may require the holder of an exploration permit to vary the monitoring and verification plan prepared as part of the injection testing plan.

(2) The Environment Protection Authority may only do this after consulting with the permit holder.

(3) The Environment Protection Authority must consult the Minister before requiring a variation under subsection (1).

[…]

96      Approval of injection and monitoring plan

(1) The Minister must not approve an injection and monitoring plan unless he or she is satisfied that—

(d) subject to section 97, the injection and permanent storage of the greenhouse gas

substance will not present a risk to public health or the environment.

[…]

97      Risk to the environment

(1) For the purposes of determining whether the injection and permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance will present a risk to the environment, the Minister must, within 21 days of receiving an injection and monitoring plan for approval, provide a copy of the proposed plan to—

(a) the Minister administering the Environment Protection Act 1970;

(b) the Minister administering the Water Act 1989;

(c) the Environment Protection Authority.

(2) A person or body referred to in subsection (1) may make a recommendation that the injection and monitoring plan not be approved or be approved subject to conditions if the person or body is of the opinion that—

(a) the work that is proposed to be carried out under the plan will present a risk to the environment; or

(b) the applicant’s proposed risk management plan in relation to the environment is inadequate; or

(c) the applicant’s proposed monitoring and verification plan, including the estimated cost of carrying out monitoring and verification activities after surrendering the greenhouse gas injection and monitoring licence, is inadequate.

(3) If a recommendation is made within 40 days after the proposed plan is provided to a person or body under this section, the recommendation is binding on the Minister.

(4) If a person or body requests that the Department provide further information in relation to an application for approval of an injection and monitoring plan, the time in which the person or body may make a recommendation does not include the period from the date that the request for further information is made until the date that the information is received.

[…]

109   EPA may require variation of monitoring and verification plan

(1) The Environment Protection Authority may require the holder of an injection and monitoring licence to vary the monitoring and verification plan prepared as part of the injection and monitoring plan.

(2) The Environment Protection Authority may only do this after consulting with the permit holder.

(3) The Environment Protection Authority must consult the Minister before requiring a variation under subsection (1).

[…]

136   Risk to the environment

(1) For the purposes of determining whether making a well will present a risk to the environment, the Minister must, within 21 days of receiving a special access well plan for approval, provide a copy of the proposed plan to—

(a) the Minister administering the Environment Protection Act 1970;

(b) the Minister administering the Water Act 1989;

(c) the Environment Protection Authority.

(2) A person or body referred to in subsection (1) may make a recommendation that a special access well plan not be approved or be approved subject to conditions if the person or body is of the opinion that—

(a) the work that is proposed to be carried out under the plan will present a risk to the

environment; or

(b) the details about how any risks to the environment will be managed are inadequate.

(3) If a recommendation is made within 40 days after the proposed plan is provided to a person or body under this section, the recommendation is binding on the Minister.

(4) If a person or body requests that the Department provide further information in relation to an application for approval of a special access well plan, the time in which the person or body may make a recommendation does not include the period from the date that the request for further information is made until the date that the information is received.

[…]

144   EPA may require variation of special access well plan

(1) The Environment Protection Authority may require the holder of a special access authorisation to vary the monitoring and verification plan prepared as part of the special access well plan.

(2) The Environment Protection Authority may only do this after consulting with the holder of the special access authorisation.

(3) The Environment Protection Authority must consult the Minister before requiring a variation under subsection (1).

[…]

157   Conditions that may apply to authorities

(3) Without limiting the conditions the Minister may specify under this section, the Minister may specify conditions—

(d) concerning the protection of public health;

(e) concerning the protection of the environment.

[…]

171   Surrender of injection and monitoring licence

(1) For the purposes of determining whether a stored greenhouse gas substance will present a risk to the environment, the Minister must, within 21 days of receiving an application for surrender of an authority, provide a copy of the application to—

(a) the Minister administering the Environment Protection Act 1970;

(b) the Minister administering the Water Act 1989;

(c) the Environment Protection Authority.

(2) A person or body referred to in subsection (1) may make a binding recommendation that the application for surrender of an authority not be approved or be approved subject to conditions if the person or body is of the opinion that—

(a) the stored greenhouse gas substance will present a risk to the environment; or

(b) the applicant’s proposed risk management plan in relation to the environment is

inadequate; or

(c) the applicant’s proposed long-term monitoring and verification plan, including estimated costs in relation to carrying out the activities detailed in that plan, is inadequate.

(3) If a recommendation is made within 40 days after the application is provided to a person or body under this section, the recommendation is binding on the Minister.

(4) If a person or body requests that the Department provide further information in relation to an application for surrender of an authority, the time in which the person or body may make a recommendation does not include the period from the date that the request for further information is made until the date that the information is received.

[…]

175   Cancellation of authority

The Minister may cancel an authority if—

(c) any activity carried out under the authority has caused a risk to public health or the environment.

[…]

192   Operations on wilderness land barred

(1) A person must not carry out any greenhouse gas sequestration operations on land that is a marine national park, a marine sanctuary, a reference area under the Reference Areas Act 1978or a wilderness zone or wilderness park under the National Parks Act 1975.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

(2) No authority granted under this Act can authorise any activity prohibited by subsection (1).

[…]

209   Operation plan to be prepared

Before carrying out any greenhouse gas sequestration operation, the holder of the authority under which the operation is to be carried out must give the Minister an operation plan—

(a) that identifies the risks that the operation may pose to the environment, to any member of the public, land or property in the vicinity of the operation; and

(b) that specifies what the holder of the authority will do to eliminate or minimise those risks; and

(c) that specifies what the holder of the authority will do to rehabilitate the land that will be affected by the operation; and

(d) that sets out any other matters required by the regulations.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

[…]

217   Rehabilitation

(1) The holder of an authority must rehabilitate any land that is used in carrying out any operation under the authority and must, as far as is practicable, complete the rehabilitation of the land before the authority, or any renewed authority, ceases to apply to the land.

(2) It is sufficient compliance with this section in respect of an operation if the holder of an authority fully complies with the rehabilitation measures in the operation plan concerning that operation.

218   Insurance must be held

The holder of an authority must obtain and maintain, as directed by the Minister from time to time, insurance against expenses or liabilities or specified things arising in connection with, or as a result of, the carrying out of operations, or the doing of any other thing, under the authority, including the expenses of complying with directions with respect to the clean-up or other remedying of the effects of the escape of a greenhouse gas substance.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

219   Definition of rehabilitation bond

(1) In this Division rehabilitation bondmeans an instrument acceptable to the Minister securing the payment of a specified amount of money for any rehabilitation work, clean-up work or pollution prevention work that may be necessary as a result of a greenhouse gas sequestration operation.

(2) A rehabilitation bond is not to include any costs associated with long-term monitoring or verification arising in relation to the surrender of injection rights under an injection and monitoring licence.

220   Requirement to take out rehabilitation bond

The holder of an authority must not carry out a greenhouse gas sequestration operation unless it has obtained a rehabilitation bond that is acceptable to the Minister and is for an amount specified by the Minister.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

221   Minister may require increased rehabilitation bond

(1) This section applies if the Minister believes that the amount secured by a rehabilitation bond in relation to a greenhouse gas sequestration operation is insufficient.

(2) The Minister may, by written notice, require the holder of the authority to obtain an extension of, or a further, rehabilitation bond for an amount determined by the Minister.

(3) Before making a requirement, the Minister must consult the holder of the authority.

(4) The holder of the authority must comply with a notice imposing such a requirement within 30 days after being given the notice.

Penalty: 120 penalty units.

222   Minister may carry out rehabilitation

(1) The Minister may do anything necessary to rehabilitate land that has been used for a greenhouse gas sequestration operation if he or she—

(a) is not satisfied that the land has been rehabilitated as required by section 217; or

(b) is satisfied that further rehabilitation of the land is necessary; or

(c) is asked to do so by the owner of the land.

(2) The Minister may only do this if he or she has asked the holder or former holder of the authority to rehabilitate the land and the holder or former holder has failed to do so within a reasonable period after the request.

(3) The Minister may recover as a debt due to the Crown in a court of competent jurisdiction any amount incurred under subsection (1) that cannot be recovered from the rehabilitation bond that applies in respect of the land.

(4) If the Minister refuses to act on a request under subsection (1)(c), he or she must inform the owner of the land of the reasons for that refusal.

223   Return of bond if rehabilitation satisfactory

The Minister must discharge a rehabilitation bond, or return a rehabilitation bond to the holder or former holder of the authority, as soon as possible once the Minister is satisfied—

(a) that the relevant land has been rehabilitated as required by section 217;

(b) and that the rehabilitation is likely to be successful; and

(c) that any other work in respect of which the bond was required has been satisfactorily completed.

[…]

254   Emergencies

(1)      If an inspector reasonably believes that it is necessary to do so because of the existence, on any premises that the inspector believes have been, are being, or are to be, used in connection with a greenhouse gas sequestration operation, of an immediate risk—

(a) to any member of the public; or

(b) that property may be seriously damaged; or

(c) that significant damage may occur to the environment—

the inspector may at any time enter the premises and exercise any power conferred by section 253(1).

[…]

271   Prohibition notice

(1) This section applies if an activity or event is occurring, or is likely to occur, in an authority area that, in the opinion of the Minister, creates an immediate risk—

(a) to any member of the public; or

(b) that property may be seriously damaged; or

(c) that significant damage may occur to the environment.

(2) The Minister may issue to the holder of the authority a prohibition notice prohibiting the holder—

(a) from carrying out, or continuing to carry out, any greenhouse gas sequestration operation, or any activity relating to a greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring operation, in the authority area; or

(b) from taking any specified action in the authority area—

until the Minister certifies in writing that any direction included in the prohibition notice has been complied with, or until the expiry of a specified period.

(3) The Minister—

(a) may include in the notice directions as to measures to be taken to remove or reduce the risk to which the notice relates;

(b) must specify in the notice from when the prohibition is to take effect.

(4) The holder of the authority must comply with the notice.

Penalty: 600 penalty units.

(5) If the holder of an authority fails to comply with a notice given to it under this section, it is guilty of an offence for each day the failure to comply in respect of which the notice was given continues after the relevant prohibition takes effect.

Penalty: 20 penalty units for each day the offence continues after the prohibition takes effect.

Permitting CO2 injection and storage

Summary

Section 18 of the Victorian Onshore Act provides that is an offence to undertake injection and monitoring of CO2 (or another greenhouse gas) in Victoria, except:

  1. in accordance with an authority issued under the Act; or
  2. as otherwise permitted by the Act.

The Act provides for the holders of exploration permits and retention leases authorities to apply for injection and monitoring licences in respect of geologically suitable and commercially viable storage formations (exploration permit holders under section 19 and retention lease holders under section 72). For areas not covered by such instruments or by an expired or cancelled injection and monitoring licence, the Minister can invite applications for licences under section 74.

Section 71 provides that, once issued, an injection and monitoring licence will entitle the licence holder to:

  1. inject and monitor CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the licence area;
  2. continue to explore for storage formations in the licence area; and
  3. do anything else within the licence area that is necessary for or incidental to those purposes.

The Minister’s decision whether to grant or refuse an injection and monitoring licence must be based on the factors and criteria specified in sections 82 and 83.

Section 88 provides that, once issued, an injection and monitoring licence continues in force until it is cancelled or surrendered, or the Act otherwise provides.

Finally, before commencing injection a licence holder must submit an in injection and monitoring plan in accordance with section 95 and an operations plan in accordance with section 209, each of which must be approved by the Minister. 

Article/Section No.

Section 18
Section 19
Section 71
Section 72
Section 73
Section 74
Section 75
Section 76
Section 77
Section 78
Section 79
Section 80
Section 81
Section 82
Section 83
Section 84
Section 85
Section 86
Section 87
Section 88
Section 95
Section 209

Instrument Text

18      Offence to carry out greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring unless authorised

A person must not carry out any greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring in Victoria except—

(a) under, and in accordance with, an injection and monitoring licence; or

(b) as otherwise permitted by this Act.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

19      Rights conferred by exploration permit

[…]

(2) If the holder of an exploration permit discovers an underground geological storage formation in the permit area that is likely to be geologically suitable for the permanent storage of a greenhouse gas

substance, the holder has the right to apply for the grant of—

(a) an injection and monitoring licence; or

(b) a greenhouse gas sequestration formation retention lease.

[…]

71      Rights conferred by licence

A greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring licence authorises the holder of the licence, subject to and in accordance with the conditions of the licence—

(a) to carry out greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring in the licence area; and

(b) to carry out greenhouse gas sequestration formation exploration in the licence area; and

(c) to do any thing in the licence area that is necessary for, or incidental to, those purposes.

72      Application for licence

The holder of an exploration permit or a retention lease may apply to the Minister for the grant of a greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring licence in respect of any part of the permit or lease area on which the holder has discovered an underground geological storage formation likely to be geologically suitable for the permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance and which is commercially viable for that purpose.

73      Details to be supplied with application

(1)      In addition to complying with section 147, the application for an injection and monitoring licence made under this Division must include—

(a) details of the area in respect of which the licence is sought; and

(b) an assessment of the suitability of the underground geological storage formation for the permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance; and

(c) details of the nature and volume of the greenhouse gas substance proposed to be injected into the underground geological storage formation; and

(d) any other matters that are prescribed.

(2) In addition to the requirements set out in section 148, the proposed work program submitted with an application for an injection and monitoring licence must specify a date for commencement of commercial scale injection of a greenhouse gas substance into an underground geological storage formation that is within the maximum time period prescribed in the regulations.

74      Minister may invite tender applications

(1)      The Minister may invite applications for the grant of an injection and monitoring licence in respect of an area if—

(a) in the opinion of the Minister, the area contains an underground geological storage formation that is likely to be geologically suitable for the injection and permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance; and

(b) the area—

(i) is not the subject of an exploration permit, a retention lease or an injection and monitoring licence; or

(ii) was the subject of an exploration permit, a retention lease or an injection and monitoring licence that has expired or that has been cancelled in respect of that area.

(2) The invitation must specify—

(a) the chief factors that will be considered by the Minister; and

(b) the date by which applications must be made.

(3)      The invitation may specify—

(a) that an applicant must specify the amount that it is willing to pay for the grant of the

licence; and

(b) the basis on which applications will be primarily decided.

75      Applications

(1)      In addition to complying with section 147, an applicant for a licence under this Division—

(a) must submit details of—

(i) the applicant’s relevant technical qualifications and of the relevant technical qualifications of its employees; and

(ii) the relevant technical advice available to the applicant; and

(iii) the financial resources available to the applicant; and

(b) must submit details of the greenhouse gas substance available to the applicant for injection and permanent storage, including details of the nature and volume of the greenhouse gas substance proposed to be injected; and

(c) must include an assessment of the suitability of the underground geological storage formation for the permanent storage of the greenhouse gas substance specified in paragraph (b); and

(d) must include any other matters that are prescribed or required to be included in the invitation; and

(e) if the invitation requires applicants to specify an amount that they are willing to pay for the grant of the licence, must be accompanied by a deposit of 10% of the amount bid.

(2) In addition to the requirements set out in section 148, the proposed work program submitted with an application for a greenhouse gas stream injection and monitoring licence must specify a date for commencement of commercial scale injection of a greenhouse gas substance into an underground geological storage formation that is within the maximum time period prescribed in the regulations.

76      Procedure for deciding between competing bids

(1) The Minister must decide between competing applications on the basis of the chief factors specified in the invitation for the applications.

(2) Nothing in this section requires the Minister to grant an application that, in the opinion of the Minister, is deficient or defective or not in the public interest.

77      Notice to be given to applicants

(1) If the Minister decides to grant an injection and monitoring licence, he or she must give every unsuccessful applicant for the licence written notice of that decision within 14 days of making it.

(2) If the Minister decides not to grant an injection and monitoring licence, he or she must notify all applicants in writing of that decision.

78      Refund of deposits

(1) The Minister must refund any deposit paid under section 75(1)(e) by an applicant who is not granted an injection and monitoring licence.

(2) If, in the opinion of the Minister, there are exceptional circumstances or the interests of fairness so require, the Minister may refund the deposit of an applicant who is granted a licence, but who does not accept the grant.

79      Minister may make new grant if former grant refused

(1) This section applies if the Minister decides to grant a greenhouse gas injection and monitoring licence under this Division to an applicant but the applicant states in writing that the applicant does not intend to accept the grant.

(2) Subject to section 76, the Minister may grant the licence to any other applicant for the licence.

(3) This section applies regardless of how many times the Minister has decided to grant the licence.

80      Extension of time in which to make licence payment

On the written application of the person made within 90 days after receiving notice that it has been granted an injection and monitoring licence, the Minister may extend by up to 90 days the period within which the person may pay a required amount for the licence.

81      Minister must not issue licence unless cash bid paid

Subject to section 80, if the applicant specified an amount that the applicant was willing to pay for the grant of an injection and monitoring licence, the Minister must not issue a licence to an applicant unless the applicant has paid the amount bid for the licence.

82      Grant of a licence

(1) The Minister may grant or refuse to grant an injection and monitoring licence.

(2) In determining whether to grant an injection and monitoring licence, the chief factors the Minister must take into account are—

(a) the merits of the work program proposed by the applicant; and

(b) the likelihood that the work program will be carried out; and

(c) the applicant’s assessment of the suitability of the underground geological storage formation for the storage of the identified greenhouse gas substance; and

(d) the likelihood that the greenhouse gas substance will be permanently contained in the licence area; and

(e) if the application is made in response to an invitation under section 74, any other factors specified in the invitation.

83      Minister to be satisfied of certain matters

(1)      The Minister must not grant an injection and monitoring licence unless the Minister is satisfied that—

(a) the applicant has access to a commercially viable volume of greenhouse gas substance; and

(b) the underground geological storage formation is likely to be geologically suitable for the injection and permanent storage of the identified greenhouse gas substance; and

(c) the greenhouse gas substance is likely to be permanently contained in the area for which the licence is proposed to be granted.

(2) In granting an injection and monitoring licence, the Minister must also consider the chief factors

specified in section 82.

84      Restrictions on area to which licence applies

(1) The Minister may grant an injection and monitoring licence in respect of all or part of the area in respect of which the licence is sought.

(2) In granting an injection and monitoring licence, the Minister must—

(a) ensure that the licence area is the minimum area necessary—

(i) to cover the maximum extent of the underground geological storage formation identified as being likely to be geologically suitable for the injection and permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance; and

(ii) to enable the future use of any other underground geological storage formation for the injection and permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance; and

(b) allow for the potential migration path of an injected greenhouse gas substance to ensure that the injected greenhouse gas substance is likely to be contained in the licence area or any combined area of a development agreement.

(3) In the case of licences granted under Division 2, nothing in this section authorises the Minister to include in the licence area any area that was not within the area to which the licence holder’s exploration permit or retention lease applied at the time it applied for the licence.

85      Licence may be limited to a stratum of land

(1) An injection and monitoring licence may be granted—

(a) for a stratum of land; or

(b) without being limited to a particular stratum.

(2) The Minister must not grant a licence for a stratum of land unless he or she determines that it is in the public interest.

86      Licence may be limited to a specified volume

(1) The Minister may grant an injection and monitoring licence in respect of a specified volume of greenhouse gas substance.

(2) In specifying a volume of greenhouse gas substance, the Minister must have regard to—

(a) the estimated storage capacity of the underground geological formation in which the applicant proposes to inject a greenhouse gas substance; and

(b) the volume of greenhouse gas substance that the applicant proposes to inject.

(3) The Minister must not specify a larger volume of greenhouse gas substance than is identified in the applicant’s approved injection and monitoring plan.

87      Further licence may be granted where greenhouse gas injection work completed

(1) The Minister may grant an injection and monitoring licence in respect of land for which the holder of another injection and monitoring licence has surrendered the right to inject a greenhouse gas substance.

(2) A further injection and monitoring licence may only be granted in respect of land to which subsection (1) applies if the Minister is satisfied that granting a further licence—

(a) is in the public interest; and

(b) will not interfere with the post-injection monitoring and verification activities of the existing licence holder; and

(c) will not present a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources in the proposed licence area.

(3) The Minister must consult with the existing licence holder before granting a further injection and monitoring licence under this section.

(4) If the Minister grants a further injection and monitoring licence under this section, the Minister must advise the existing licence holder in writing of that decision.

88      Term of licence

An injection and monitoring licence continues in force until it is cancelled or surrendered or this Act otherwise provides.

[…]
95 Plan to be approved before injection and monitoring can start

The holder of an injection and monitoring licence must not carry out greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring in the licence area unless the Minister has approved the holder’s greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring plan for the licence area.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

[…]

Operation plan to be prepared

Before carrying out any greenhouse gas sequestration operation, the holder of the authority under which the operation is to be carried out must give the Minister an operation plan—

(a) that identifies the risks of injury or damage that the operation may pose to the environment, to any community, person, land user, land or property in the vicinity of the operation; and

(b) that specifies what the holder of the authority will do to eliminate or minimise those risks; and

(c) that specifies what the holder of the authority will do to rehabilitate the land that will be affected by the operation; and

(d) that sets out any other matters required by the regulations.

Penalty:           240 penalty units.

IV. Operating and closing storage facilities
Monitoring, reporting and verification

Summary

Monitoring

Under section 18 of the Victorian Onshore Act, monitoring of CO2 injection requires an injection and monitoring licence. Monitoring of injected CO2 is in turn one of the key rights conferred by such a licence, under section 71.

Under section 95, before commencing injection of CO2 or other greenhouse gases, the holder of an injection and monitoring and licence must submit to the Minister an injection and monitoring plan prepared in accordance with section 94, which sets out, among other things:

  1. a description of the proposed monitoring techniques;
  2. a monitoring and verification plan detailing how the behaviour of any stored greenhouse gas substance will be monitored; and
  3. an estimate of the cost of the monitoring and verification activities to be undertaken after the greenhouse gas injection and monitoring has been surrendered.

Reporting

Under section 111, each holder of an injection and monitoring licence must report to the Minister the outcomes of all monitoring and verification performed under the licence. Reports are then to be made publicly available through the greenhouse gas sequestration register.

In addition, under section 112 licence holders are required to pay an annual amount towards their estimated long-term monitoring and verification costs, as set out in the approved injection and monitoring plan. The amount is to be determined as a percentage fixed by the Minister of the total estimated cost of long-term monitoring and verification. 

Article/Section No.

Section 18
Section 71
Section 93
Section 94(a), (f), (j) and (l)
Section 111
Section 112

Instrument Text

18      Offence to carry out greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring unless authorised

A person must not carry out any greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring in Victoria except—

(a) under, and in accordance with, an injection and monitoring licence; or

(b) as otherwise permitted by this Act.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

[…]

71      Rights conferred by licence

A greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring licence authorises the holder of the licence, subject to and in accordance with the conditions of the licence—

(a) to carry out greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring in the licence area; and

(b) to carry out greenhouse gas sequestration formation exploration in the licence area; and

(c) to do any thing in the licence area that is necessary for, or incidental to, those purposes.

[…]

93      Injection and monitoring plan

(1) An injection and monitoring plan is a plan in relation to an injection and monitoring licence that sets out how greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring operations will be conducted in the licence area.

(2) An injection and monitoring plan must be taken to form part of the operation plan and may be submitted

by the holder of an injection and monitoring licence—

(a) with the operation plan required under section 209; or

(b) at any later time by submitting a variation to the operation plan under section 212.

94      Content of injection and monitoring plan

An injection and monitoring plan must include—

(a) details of the activities that the licence holder intends to conduct and the proposed dates by which those activities are to be completed; and

(f) a description of the proposed injection and monitoring techniques; and

(j) a monitoring and verification plan prepared in accordance with the regulations and detailing how the behaviour of any stored greenhouse gas substance will be monitored; and

(l) an estimate of the cost of carrying out the monitoring and verification activities after the greenhouse gas injection and monitoring licence has been surrendered.

95 Plan to be approved before injection and monitoring can start

The holder of an injection and monitoring licence must not carry out greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring in the licence area unless the Minister has approved the holder's greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring plan for the licence area.

Penalty:           240 penalty units.

[…]

111   Reporting

(1) If the holder of an injection and monitoring licence has an approved injection and monitoring plan, it is a condition of the injection and monitoring licence that the holder of the licence provide to the Minister a report on the outcome of all monitoring and verification activities carried out under the licence.

(2) A report under subsection (1) must be provided—

(a) at the times specified in the monitoring and verification plan; or

(b) if no times are specified in the monitoring and verification plan, every three months.

(3) The Minister must ensure that a copy of each report provided under this section is available for public inspection on the greenhouse gas sequestration register.

112   Payment of long-term monitoring and verification costs

(1) It is a condition of an injection and monitoring licence that the holder of the licence must pay an annual instalment of the estimated long-term monitoring and verification costs set out in the approved injection and monitoring plan.

(2) The annual instalment amount is to be a percentage fixed by the Minister of the total estimated cost.

(3) The licence holder must pay each instalment by the date that it is due to be paid.

Inspections

Summary

Section 251 of the Victorian Onshore Act enables the Minister to authorise inspectors, who can in turn carry out inspections for the purposes of determining compliance with the Act.

Inspectors are given a wide range of powers under section 253, including the power to:

  1. enter any premises believed to be used for a CO2 sequestration operation;
  2. inspect the premises and anything on the premises;
  3. copy documents;
  4. seize items where necessary to prevent their concealment, loss or destruction;
  5. test equipment;
  6. take photographs and audio and visual recordings; and
  7. use assistants in exercising the above powers.

Inspectors must, however, exercise these powers only to the extent necessary to determine compliance with the Act, or avoid immediate risk to property or the environment.

Inspectors can also exercise the above powers:

  1. under section 254, if there is a risk to any member of the public, property or the environment; or
  2. under section 255, to search for evidence of offences under the Act, without a search warrant if the occupier of the premises consents to the search, or otherwise with a search warrant.

Section 269 prohibits any obstruction or hindrance, or refusal of admission, to any inspector or assistant exercising powers of inspection in accordance with the Act.

 

Article/Section No.

Section 251
Section 252
Section 253
Section 254
Section 255
Section 256
Section 257
Section 258
Section 259
Section 260
Section 261
Section 262
Section 263
Section 264
Section 265
Section 266
Section 267
Section 268
Section 269

Instrument Text

251   Authorisation of inspectors

(1) The Minister may authorise any person who the Minister considers suitable to carry out inspections for the purposes of this Act.

(2) The Minister must give each authorised person an identity card that identifies the person by name as an inspector under this Act and that contains a photograph of the person.

(3) If a person’s authorisation as an inspector is revoked or expires, he or she must immediately return his or her identity card to the Minister.

Penalty: 5 penalty units.

252   Production of identity card

An inspector must produce his or her identity card for inspection—

(a) before exercising a power under this Part other than a requirement made by post; and

(b) at any time during the exercise of a power under this Part, if asked to do so.

Penalty: 10 penalty units.

253   Monitoring compliance with this Act

(1) An inspector may enter any premises that the inspector believes has been, is being, or is to be, used in connection with a greenhouse gas sequestration operation at any reasonable hour in the daytime and at any time that the premises is open for business and may—

(a) inspect the premises and any thing on the premises;

(b) make copies of, or take extracts from, any document kept on the premises;

(c) seize any thing on the premises if the inspector believes on reasonable grounds that it is

necessary to seize the thing in order to prevent its concealment, loss or destruction;

(d) test any equipment on the premises;

(e) take any photographs or make any audio or visual recordings that he or she considers

necessary;

(f) use any assistants the inspector considers necessary to exercise the powers conferred by

this section.

(2) An inspector may exercise powers under this section only to the extent that it is reasonably necessary to do so for the purpose of determining compliance with this Act or in connection with the issue of an improvement notice under section 270 or a prohibition notice under section 271.

(3) An inspector may not continue to exercise any powers under this section if he or she fails to produce, on request, his or her identity card for inspection by the occupier of the land.

(4) An inspector may not, under this section, enter a residence for the purpose of determining compliance with this Act unless the occupier of the residence has consented in writing to the entry and the carrying out of a search.

254   Emergencies

(1) If an inspector reasonably believes that it is necessary to do so because of the existence, on any premises that the inspector believes have been, are being, or are to be, used in connection with a greenhouse gas sequestration operation, of an immediate risk—

(a) to any member of the public; or

(b) that property may be seriously damaged; or

(c) that significant damage may occur to the environment—

the inspector may at any time enter the premises and exercise any power conferred by section 253(1).

(2) An inspector may not continue to exercise any powers under this section if he or she fails to produce, on

request, his or her identity card for inspection by the occupier of the premises.

(3) If an inspector exercises a power of entry under this section without the owner or occupier being present the inspector must, on leaving the premises, leave a notice setting out—

(a) the time of entry; and

(b) the purpose of entry; and
(c) a description of all things done while on the premises; and

(d) the time of departure; and

(e) the procedure for contacting the Department for further details of the entry.

255   Offence-related searches and seizures

(1) An inspector may only exercise powers under this section if he or she has reasonable grounds for suspecting that there is on any premises a particular thing that may be evidence of the commission of an offence under this Act.

(2) The inspector, with any assistants he or she considers necessary, may with the consent in writing of the occupier of the premises, enter the premises and search for the thing without applying for a search warrant.

(3) An inspector must not enter and search any premises with the consent of the occupier unless, before the occupier consents to that entry, the inspector has—

(a) produced his or her identity card for inspection; and

(b) informed the occupier—

(i) of the purpose of the search; and

(ii) that the occupier may refuse to give consent to the entry and search or to the seizure of anything found during the search; and

(iii) that the occupier may refuse to consent to the taking of any sample of goods or any copy or extract from a document found on the premises during the search; and

(iv) that anything seized or taken during the search with the consent of the occupier may be used in evidence in proceedings.

(4) If the thing is found during a search under subsection (2), the inspector may—

(a) inspect any thing on the premises;

(b) inspect, and make copies of, or take extracts from, the thing;

(c) seize the thing if the inspector believes on reasonable grounds that it is necessary to seize it in order to prevent its concealment, loss or destruction.

256   Occupier to be given copy of consent

(1) An occupier who consents in writing to the entry and search of their premises or residence under section 253 or 255 must be given a copy of the signed consent immediately.

(2) If, in any proceeding, a written consent is not produced to the court, it must be presumed, until the contrary is proved, that the occupier did not consent to the entry and search.

257   Search warrant

(1) An inspector may apply to a magistrate for the issue of a search warrant in relation to particular premises if the inspector believes on reasonable grounds that there is, or may be within the next 72 hours, on the premises a particular thing that may be evidence of the commission of an offence under this Act.

(2) If a magistrate is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that there is, or may be within the next 72 hours, on the premises a particular thing that may be evidence of the commission of an offence under this Act, the magistrate may issue a search warrant authorising an inspector named in the warrant and any assistants the inspector considers necessary—

(a) to enter the premises, or the part of premises, named or described in the warrant; and

(b) to search for and seize any thing named or described in the warrant.

(3) In addition to any other requirement, a search warrant issued under this section must state—

(a) the offence suspected; and

(b) the premises to be searched; and

(c) a description of the thing for which the search is to be made; and

(d) any conditions to which the warrant is subject; and

(e) whether entry is authorised to be made at any time or during stated hours; and

(f) a day, not later than 7 days after the issue of the warrant, on which the warrant ceases

to have effect.

(4) A search warrant must be issued in accordance with the Magistrates’ Court Act 1989and must be in

the form set out in the regulations under that Act. (5) Subject to any provision to the contrary in this Act, the rules to be observed with respect to search

warrants mentioned in the Magistrates’ Court Act 1989extend and apply to warrants under this section.

258   Announcement before entry

(1) Before executing a search warrant, the inspector named in the warrant or a person assisting the inspector must announce that he or she is authorised by the warrant to enter the premises and give any person at the premises an opportunity to allow entry to the premises.

(2) The inspector or a person assisting the inspector need not comply with subsection (1) if he or she believes on reasonable grounds that immediate entry to the premises is required to ensure—

(a) the safety of the public; or

(b) that the effective execution of the search warrant is not frustrated.

259   Copy of warrant to be given to occupier

If the occupier or another person who apparently represents the occupier is present at the premises when a search warrant is being executed, the inspector must—

(a) identify himself or herself to that person by producing his or her identity card for inspection by that person; and

(b) give to that person a copy of the execution copy of the warrant.

260   Receipt must be given for any thing seized

(1) An inspector may not seize a thing, apparently in the possession or custody of a person, unless he or she makes out and tenders to the person a receipt for the thing seized that—

(a) identifies the thing; and

(b) states the name of the inspector and the reason why the thing is being seized.

(2) If an inspector is unable to discover the identity of the owner or custodian of any thing seized, the inspector must leave the receipt with, or post it to, the owner of the premises from which the thing was

seized.

261   Copies of certain seized things to be given

(1) If an inspector seizes—

(a) a document; or

(b) a thing that can be readily copied; or

(c) a storage device the information in which can be readily copied—

the inspector must give a copy of the thing or information to the owner or custodian of the document, thing or device as soon as practicable after the seizure.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply—

(a) to any document, thing or device moved under section 262(2); or

(b) if the inspector is unable to discover the identity of the owner or custodian of any document, thing or device seized.

262   Use of equipment to examine or process things

(1) An inspector may bring on to a premises any equipment reasonably necessary for the examination or processing of things found at the premises in order to determine whether they are things that may be seized.

(2)      If—

(a) it is not practicable to examine or process the things at the premises; or

(b) the occupier of the premises consents in writing—

the things may be moved to another place so that the examination or processing can be carried out in order to determine whether they are things that may be seized.

(3) The inspector, or a person assisting the inspector, may operate equipment already at the premises to carry out the examination or processing of a thing found at the premises in order to determine whether it is a thing that may be seized, if the inspector or person assisting believes on reasonable grounds that—

(a) the equipment is suitable for the examination or processing; and

(b) the examination or processing can be carried out without damage to the equipment or

the thing.

263   Use or seizure of electronic equipment at premises

(1)         If—

(a) a thing found at a premises is, or includes, a disk, tape or other device for the storage of information; and

(b) equipment at the premises may be used with the disk, tape or other storage device; and

(c) the inspector believes on reasonable grounds that the information stored on the disk, tape or other storage device is relevant to determine whether this Act has been contravened—

the inspector or a person assisting the inspector may operate, or may require the occupier or an employee of the occupier to operate, the equipment to access the information.

(2) If the inspector or a person assisting the inspector finds that a disk, tape or other storage device at the premises contains information of the kind referred to in subsection (1)(c), he or she may—

(a) put the information in documentary form and seize the documents so produced; or

(b) copy the information to another disk, tape or other storage device and remove that

storage device from the premises; or

(c) if it is not practicable to put the information in documentary form nor to copy the information, seize the disk, tape or other storage device and the equipment that enables the information to be accessed.

(3) An inspector or a person assisting an inspector must not operate or seize equipment for the purpose mentioned in this section unless the inspector or person assisting believes on reasonable grounds that the operation or seizure of the equipment can be carried out without damage to the equipment.

264   Compensation for damage

(1) The Minister must pay compensation for any damage caused by an inspector, or a person assisting an inspector, in exercising (or purporting to exercise) any power conferred by this Act.

(2) However, the Minister is not liable to pay compensation for any damage caused during any inspection that reveals that there has been a contravention of this Act.

(3) In determining the amount of compensation payable in relation to any damage caused to electronic equipment, regard is to be had to whether the occupier of the premises and the employees and agents of the occupier, if they were available at the time, had provided any warning or guidance as to the operation of the equipment that was appropriate in the circumstances.

265   Return of seized things

(1) If an inspector seizes a thing under this Act, the inspector must take reasonable steps to return the thing to the person from whom it was seized if the reason for its seizure no longer exists.

(2) If the thing has not been returned before the end of the retention period, the inspector must take reasonable steps to return it unless—

(a) proceedings have commenced within the retention period and those proceedings (including any appeal) have not been completed; or

(b) a court makes an order under section 266 extending the retention period.

266   Magistrates’ Court may extend period

(1) An inspector may apply to the Magistrates’ Court within the retention period or within a period extended by the Court under this section for an extension of that period.

(2) The Magistrates’ Court may order such an extension if satisfied that retention of the thing is necessary—

(a) for the purposes of an investigation into whether an offence has been committed; or

(b) to enable evidence of an offence to be obtained for the purposes of a prosecution.

(3) The Court may adjourn an application to enable notice of the application to be given to any person.

267   Power of inspector to require information or documents

(1) An inspector who—

(a) exercises a power of entry under this Act; and

(b) produces his or her identity card for inspection by a person—

may, to the extent that is reasonably necessary to determine whether this Act has been contravened or whether there exists a risk of a kind referred to in section 254(1), require the person to give information to the inspector, to produce documents to the inspector and to give reasonable assistance to the inspector.

(2) A person must not refuse or fail, without reasonable excuse, to comply with a requirement made under subsection (1).

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

(3) A person must not, in response to a request under this Division—

(a) give information that the person knows to be false or misleading in a material detail; or

(b) produce a document that the person knows to be false or misleading in a material detail without indicating the respect in which it is false or misleading and, if practicable, providing correct information.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

268   Protection against self-incrimination

(1) A natural person may refuse or fail to give information or do any other thing that the person is required to do by or under this Act or the regulations if giving the information or doing the other thing would tend to incriminate the person.

(2) However, subsection (1) does not apply to—

(a) the production of a document or part of a document that the person is required by this

Act or the regulations to produce; or

(b) the giving of a person’s name or address in accordance with this Act or the regulations.

269   Offence to obstruct inspector

A person must not—

(a) obstruct or hinder; or

(b) refuse admission to any premises to—

an inspector, or any person necessarily assisting an inspector, while the inspector is exercising a power given to the inspector by this Act.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

Corrective and remedial measures

Summary

A “serious situation” is defined in Section 6 of the Victorian Onshore Act to including events such as leakage of stored CO2, behaviour of CO2 other than as anticipated, and compromise of the storage site as a result of CO2 injection.

In the event of a serious situation, the Victorian Onshore Act requires that:

  1. under section 181, the operator report the serious situation within the period of time specified in the regulations; and
  2. under section 182, the Minister may direct the operator to inject or otherwise store the CO2 in a particular manner, stop or suspend injection, inject CO2 at a specified location, or take any other action, in order to remedy the situation.

Failure by an operator to comply with such a direction constitutes an offence under section 183.

Article/Section No.

Section 6
Section 181
Section 182
Section 183

Instrument Text

6         Meaning of serious situation

A serious situation exists in relation to an underground geological storage formation if—

(a) a greenhouse gas substance that has been injected into an underground geological

storage formation has leaked or will leak; or

(b) a greenhouse gas substance has leaked or will leak in the course of being injected into

an underground geological storage formation; or

(c) a greenhouse gas substance injected into an underground geological storage formation

has behaved or will behave otherwise than as predicted in the approved injecting testing plan or the approved injection and monitoring plan applying to that underground geological storage formation; or

(d) the injection or storage of a greenhouse gas substance into an underground geological storage formation has had or will have a significant impact on the geotechnical integrity of the whole or a part of a geological formation or geological structure; or

(e) the underground geological storage formation is not suitable for the permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance as set out in the approved injection and monitoring plan.

[…]

181   Reporting of serious situations

The holder of an authority must within the period of time specified in the regulations report any serious situation that has occurred, or may occur, in the authority area.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

182   Power of Minister to give a direction

If, in the opinion of the Minister, a serious situation has occurred, the Minister may, in writing, direct an authority holder—

(a) to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the greenhouse gas substance is injected into the underground geological storage formation in the manner specified in the direction; or

(b) to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the greenhouse gas substance is stored in the underground geological storage formation in the manner directed; or

(c) to stop or suspend the injection of a greenhouse gas substance at the place or places specified in the direction; or

(d) to inject a greenhouse gas substance in an underground geological storage formation at the place or places specified in the direction; or

(e) to undertake the activities specified in the direction for the purposes of eliminating, mitigating, managing or remedying the serious situation; or

(f) to take such action as specified in the direction; or

(g) to refrain from taking such action as specified in the direction.

183   Offence to fail to comply with direction

The holder of an authority must comply with a direction given under section 182. Penalty: 600 penalty units.

Operational liabilities

Summary

The Victorian Onshore Act imposes a number of operational requirements that must be observed during CO2 sequestration activities.

These include (among other things):

  1. Before commencing operations, the operator must submit to the Minister an operation plan identifying the risks the operations present to the public, the environment and any surrounding property, and how those risks are to be mitigated (see section 209).
  2. The operator must ensure that the operation is carried out in accordance with the operation plan, as approved by the Minister (see section 211).
  3. Operators must ensure that CO2 sequestration operations are carried out in a proper and workmanlike manner (see section 213).
  4. Operators must also prevent any waste or escape of CO2 or water, prevent damage to CO2 storage formations outside the licence area, and keep separate any injected CO2 and water sources in the storage complex (see section 214).
  5. Operators must maintain in good condition and repair all structures, equipment and other property used in connection with CO2 sequestration operations, and remove all structures, equipment and other property that are not being used in connection with the those operations (see section 215).
  6. Operators must rehabilitate any land that is used in carrying out any operation and must, as far as is practicable, complete such rehabilitation before the relevant licence ceases to apply to the land (see section 217).
  7. Operators must hold insurance against expenses or liabilities from the undertaking of operations (see section 218).

Failure to comply with any of the above requirements is subject to penalty.

Article/Section No.

Section 209
Section 210
Section 211
Section 212
Section 213
Section 214
Section 215
Section 216
Section 217
Section 218

Instrument Text

209   Operation plan to be prepared

Before carrying out any greenhouse gas sequestration operation, the holder of the authority under which the operation is to be carried out must give the Minister an operation plan—

(a)   that identifies the risks that the operation may pose to the environment, to any member of the public, land or property in the vicinity of the operation; and

(b) that specifies what the holder of the authority will do to eliminate or minimise those risks; and
(c) that specifies what the holder of the authority will do to rehabilitate the land that will be affected by the operation; and

(d) that sets out any other matters required by the regulations.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

210   Operate plan to be approved

(1) The holder of the authority must not carry out the greenhouse gas sequestration operation unless the Minister has approved the operation plan for the operation in writing.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

(2) The Minister must not approve an operation plan unless he or she is satisfied that the holder of the authority has, in preparing the plan, consulted the person who owns, occupies or manages the land on which the operation is to be carried out.

211   Plan must be observed in carrying out operation

In carrying out a greenhouse gas sequestration operation, the holder of an authority must ensure that the operation is carried out in accordance with the operation plan approved by the Minister in relation to the operation.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

212   Minister may allow variation of operation plan

(1) On the written application of the holder of an authority, the Minister may allow the holder of the authority to vary the operation plan that applies, or is to apply, to the authority.

(2) The Minister may require the holder of an authority to vary the operation plan that applies to the authority.

(3) The Minister may only do this after consulting with the holder of the authority.

(4) This section does not apply to a variation of any of the following plans prepared as part of an operation plan—

(a) injection testing plans;

(b) injection and monitoring plans;

(c) special access well plans.

213   Operation to be conducted in proper manner

The holder of an authority must ensure that any greenhouse gas sequestration operation carried out in the authority area is carried out in a proper and workmanlike manner.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

214   Other specific obligations concerning conduct of operations

The holder of an authority must, unless permitted to do otherwise under this Act, take all reasonable

steps to—

(a) control the flow and prevent the waste or escape in the authority area of the greenhouse gas substance or water; and

(b) prevent the escape in the authority area of any mixture of water or drilling liquid with the greenhouse gas substance or any other matter; and (c) prevent greenhouse gas sequestration operations in the authority area from damaging underground geological storage formations in areas outside the authority area; and

(d) keep separate each greenhouse gas substance injected in the authority area and any sources of water discovered in that area that the Minister directs the holder in writing to keep separate.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

215   Maintenance etc. of property

(1)      The holder of an authority must maintain in good condition and repair all structures, equipment and other property in the authority area that is used in connection with the greenhouse gas sequestration operations being carried out under the authority.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

(2) The holder of an authority must remove from the authority area all structures, equipment and other property that are not being used, or that are not to be used, in connection with the greenhouse gas sequestration operations being conducted under the authority.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

(3) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply in relation to any structure, equipment or other property that was not brought into the authority area by, or with the authority, of the authority holder.

216   Authority holder must not interfere with other rights

In carrying out greenhouse gas sequestration operations, the holder of an authority must ensure that the operations are carried out in a way that does not interfere with the activities of any other person who is using the land to a greater extent than is necessary for the reasonable exercise of its rights, and the performance of its duties, under the authority.

Penalty: 120 penalty units.

217   Rehabilitation

(1) The holder of an authority must rehabilitate any land that is used in carrying out any operation under the authority and must, as far as is practicable, complete the rehabilitation of the land before the authority, or any renewed authority, ceases to apply to the land.

(2) It is sufficient compliance with this section in respect of an operation if the holder of an authority fully complies with the rehabilitation measures in the operation plan concerning that operation.

218   Insurance must be held

The holder of an authority must obtain and maintain, as directed by the Minister from time to time, insurance against expenses or liabilities or specified things arising in connection with, or as a result of, the carrying out of operations, or the doing of any other thing, under the authority, including the expenses of complying with directions with respect to the clean-up or other remedying of the effects of the escape of a greenhouse gas substance.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

Financial security

Summary

Section 220 of the Victorian Onshore Act requires any party holding an authority for sequestration activities to obtain a rehabilitation bond satisfactory to the Minister, prior to undertaking operations.

Rehabilitation bonds are defined in section 219 as instruments that secure the payment of a specified amount for any:

  1. rehabilitation work;
  2. clean-up work; or
  3. pollution prevention work,

that may be necessary as a result of CO2 sequestration operations.

Rehabilitation bonds do not cover any costs associated with long-term monitoring or verification arising in relation to the surrender of an injection and monitoring licence.

Under section 223, the Minister must release the rehabilitation bond as soon as possible the relevant land has been rehabilitated in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

Under section 218, parties holding an authority for sequestration activities must also have insurance against expenses or liabilities arising from sequestration operations, including expenses associated with complying with clean-up directions or other measures to remedy the effects of the escape of CO2.

Article/Section No.

Section 218
Section 219
Section 220
Section 221
Section 222
Section 223

Instrument Text

218   Insurance must be held

The holder of an authority must obtain and maintain, as directed by the Minister from time to time, insurance against expenses or liabilities or specified things arising in connection with, or as a result of, the carrying out of operations, or the doing of any other thing, under the authority, including the expenses of complying with directions with respect to the clean-up or other remedying of the effects of the escape of a greenhouse gas substance.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

219   Definition of rehabilitation bond

(1) In this Division rehabilitation bondmeans an instrument acceptable to the Minister securing the payment of a specified amount of money for any rehabilitation work, clean-up work or pollution prevention work that may be necessary as a result of a greenhouse gas sequestration operation.

(2) A rehabilitation bond is not to include any costs associated with long-term monitoring or verification arising in relation to the surrender of injection rights under an injection and monitoring licence.

220   Requirement to take out rehabilitation bond

The holder of an authority must not carry out a greenhouse gas sequestration operation unless it has obtained a rehabilitation bond that is acceptable to the Minister and is for an amount specified by the Minister.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

221   Minister may require increased rehabilitation bond

(1) This section applies if the Minister believes that the amount secured by a rehabilitation bond in relation to a greenhouse gas sequestration operation is insufficient.

(2) The Minister may, by written notice, require the holder of the authority to obtain an extension of, or a further, rehabilitation bond for an amount determined by the Minister.

(3) Before making a requirement, the Minister must consult the holder of the authority.

(4) The holder of the authority must comply with a notice imposing such a requirement within 30 days after being given the notice.

Penalty: 120 penalty units.

222   Minister may carry out rehabilitation

(1) The Minister may do anything necessary to rehabilitate land that has been used for a greenhouse gas sequestration operation if he or she—

(a) is not satisfied that the land has been rehabilitated as required by section 217; or

(b) is satisfied that further rehabilitation of the land is necessary; or

(c) is asked to do so by the owner of the land.

(2) The Minister may only do this if he or she has asked the holder or former holder of the authority to rehabilitate the land and the holder or former holder has failed to do so within a reasonable period after the request.

(3) The Minister may recover as a debt due to the Crown in a court of competent jurisdiction any amount incurred under subsection (1) that cannot be recovered from the rehabilitation bond that applies in respect of the land.

(4) If the Minister refuses to act on a request under subsection (1)(c), he or she must inform the owner of the land of the reasons for that refusal.

223   Return of bond if rehabilitation satisfactory

The Minister must discharge a rehabilitation bond, or return a rehabilitation bond to the holder or former holder of the authority, as soon as possible once the Minister is satisfied—

(a) that the relevant land has been rehabilitated as required by section 217; and

(b) that the rehabilitation is likely to be successful; and

(c) that any other work in respect of which the bond was required has been satisfactorily completed.

Enforcement

Summary

Sections 270 and 271 of the Victorian Onshore Act empower the Minister to issue, for the purposes of enforcement:

  1. improvement notices, requiring an operator to take a specified action within a specified period to remedy a contravention of the Act or breach of licence conditions; and
  2. prohibition notices against the carrying out of any CO2 injection, monitoring or other sequestration activity, or any other specified action, in order to avoid an immediate risk to the public, property or the environment.

The recipient of an improvement notice or prohibition notice must comply with its terms. If the recipient fails to so comply, under section 275 the Minister may take the action required and recover the costs of this action as a debt.

Recipients of improvement and prohibition notices may, however, apply under section 273 for review of the Minister’s decision to issue the notice.

The Victorian Onshore Act also stipulates that, with respect to liability for offences under the Act:

  1. a corporation will be deemed to have the knowledge and intent of any of its officers in performing their duties (see section 276);
  2. an officer of a corporation will be guilty of any offence committed by the corporation, where the officer instigated, consented to or connived in the offence ( see section 277);
  3. a partner in a partnership will be guilty of any offence committed by the partnership or another partner (see section 278);
  4. a party to a joint venture will be guilty of any offence committed by the joint venture or another party to the joint venture (see section 279); and

an employer will be guilty of any offence committed by an employee acting within the scope of authority conferred by the employer (see section 280).

Article/Section No.

Section 270
Section 271
Section 272
Section 273
Section 274
Section 275
Section 276
Section 277
Section 278
Section 279
Section 280

Instrument Text

270   Improvement notice

(1) This section applies if the Minister is satisfied that the holder of an authority—

(a) is contravening this Act; or

(b) has contravened this Act in circumstances that make it likely that the contravention will occur again; or

(c) is not complying with a condition of the authority; or

(d) has failed to comply with a condition of the authority in circumstances that make it

likely that the failure will occur again.

(2) The Minister may issue to the holder of the authority an improvement notice requiring the holder to take specified action within a specified period to stop the contravention, or failure to comply, from continuing or occurring again.

(3) The holder of the authority must comply with the notice.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

271   Prohibition notice

(1) This section applies if an activity or event is occurring, or is likely to occur, in an authority area that, in the opinion of the Minister, creates an immediate risk—

(a) to any member of the public; or

(b) that property may be seriously damaged; or

(c) that significant damage may occur to the environment.

(2) The Minister may issue to the holder of the authority a prohibition notice prohibiting the holder—

(a) from carrying out, or continuing to carry out, any greenhouse gas sequestration operation, or any activity relating to a greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring operation, in the authority area; or

(b) from taking any specified action in the authority area—

until the Minister certifies in writing that any direction included in the prohibition notice has been complied with, or until the expiry of a specified period.

(3) The Minister—

(a) may include in the notice directions as to measures to be taken to remove or reduce the risk to which the notice relates;

(b) must specify in the notice from when the prohibition is to take effect.

(4) The holder of the authority must comply with the notice.

Penalty: 600 penalty units.

(5) If the holder of an authority fails to comply with a notice given to it under this section, it is guilty of an offence for each day the failure to comply in respect of which the notice was given continues after the relevant prohibition takes effect.

Penalty: 20 penalty units for each day the offence continues after the prohibition takes effect.

272   Form of notices

In issuing an improvement or prohibition notice, the Minister must ensure that the notice—

(a) specifies the grounds on which it was issued; and

(b) sets out the right of the holder of the authority to have the notice reviewed under this Division.

273   Right to review

(1) A person may apply to VCAT for a review of a decision by the Minister to issue an improvement or prohibition notice.

(2) An application for a review must be made within 28 days after the later of—

(a) the day on which the decision is made;

(b) if, under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998, the person requests a statement of reasons for the decision, the day on which the statement of reasons is given to the person or the person is informed under section 46(5) of that Act that a statement of reasons will not be given.

(3) Despite section 271(3), the holder of an authority that applies for a review of the issue of an improvement notice need not comply with the notice until—

(a) VCAT affirms the notice; or

(b) the holder abandons the application for the review or receives written notice that VCAT has dismissed the application.

274   Defences to charge of failing to comply with a notice

(1) In a proceeding for an offence of failing to comply with an improvement notice, it is a defence to the charge for the accused to prove that it did not contravene this Act, or fail to comply with a condition of an authority, in the manner set out in the improvement notice.

(2) In a proceeding for an offence of failing to comply with an improvement or prohibition notice, it is a defence to the charge for the accused to prove that it took all reasonable steps to comply with the notice.

275   Remedy of failure to comply with improvement notice

(1) If the holder of an authority fails to comply with an improvement notice, the Minister may do anything that should have been done by the holder of the authority to comply with the notice.

(2) The costs and expenses incurred by the Minister in doing anything under subsection (1) are a debt due by the person to the State.

276   Corporation deemed to have the knowledge of its officers

For the purposes of this Act, a corporation has the knowledge and intent of any of its officers who is acting, or purporting to act, in the course of his or her duties with the corporation.

277   Offences by corporations also offences by officers

(1) This section applies if—

(a) an offence is committed against this Act by a corporation; and

(b) the offence is proved to have been committed at the instigation of, or with the consent or connivance of, or to have been attributable to any wilful neglect on the part of, an officer of the corporation.

(2) The officer is also guilty of the offence and is liable to the penalty for that offence.

278   Offences by partners

(1) This section applies if a person holds an authority in partnership with one or more other people.

(2) The person is also guilty of any offence against this Act that the person’s partner or partners are found guilty of in acting, or purporting to act, on behalf of the partnership, and is liable to the penalty for that offence.

279   Offences by joint venturers

(1) This section applies if a person holds an authority as part of a joint venture with one or more other people.

(2) The person is also guilty of any offence against this Act that the other person is, or that the other persons are, found guilty of in acting, or purporting to act, on behalf of the joint venture, and is liable to the penalty for that offence.

280   Offences by employees and agents

(1) This section applies if a person who commits an offence under this Act committed the offence while acting—

(a) for or on behalf of another person; and

(b) within the scope of the actual or apparent authority given to him or her by the other

person.

(2) The other person is also guilty of the offence and is liable to the penalty for that offence.

Site closure

Summary

Once CO2 injection activities are complete, section 92 of the Victorian Onshore Act requires the injection and monitoring licence holder to do the following things:

  1. notify the Minister that the injection activities have been completed;
  2. plug or close off any wells;
  3. remove all injection infrastructure;
  4. rehabilitate the site; and
  5. surrender the right to inject CO2 under the relevant licence (although this surrender will be limited only to the right to inject CO2, and will not constitute complete surrender of the licence).

Similar (although not identical) obligations apply under section 178 to holders of licences is cancelled or expired.

Under section 217, any holder of a sequestration authority must rehabilitate the land that was used in carrying out operations under the authority, after which the Minister must release the rehabilitation bond to the operator in accordance with section 223. If, however, the rehabilitation is not completed or is unsatisfactory, the Minister may rehabilitate the land and recover the associated costs associated as a debt under section 222.

Once the authority ceases, under section 228 the authority holder must remove all equipment on the land within sixty days. If this requirement is not met, under section 229 the Minister can remove the equipment and recover the associated costs as a debt.

Finally, under section 87, the Minister can grant subsequent injection and monitoring licence for land subject to a prior licence which has been surrendered, subject to certain conditions. 

Article/Section No.

Section 87
Section 92
Section 178
Section 217
Section 222
Section 223
Section 228
Section 229

Instrument Text

87      Further licence may be granted where greenhouse gas injection work completed

(1) The Minister may grant an injection and monitoring licence in respect of land for which the holder of another injection and monitoring licence has surrendered the right to inject a greenhouse gas substance.

(2) A further injection and monitoring licence may only be granted in respect of land to which subsection (1) applies if the Minister is satisfied that granting a further licence—

(a) is in the public interest; and

(b) will not interfere with the post-injection monitoring and verification activities of the

existing licence holder; and

(c) will not present a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources in the proposed licence area.

(3) The Minister must consult with the existing licence holder before granting a further injection and monitoring licence under this section.

(4) If the Minister grants a further injection and monitoring licence under this section, the Minister must advise the existing licence holder in writing of that decision.

[…]

92      Completion of injection activities

(1) On the completion of injection activities under the injection and monitoring plan, the holder of a greenhouse gas injection and monitoring licence must—

(a) notify the Minister in writing that the injection activities have been completed; and

(b) remove all infrastructure associated with the injection activities including plugging or

closing off any wells; and

(c) rehabilitate the site where the injection activities took place; and

(d) surrender the right to inject a greenhouse gas substance under the licence.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

(2) In surrendering the right to inject a greenhouse gas substance under the licence, the holder of a

greenhouse gas injection and monitoring licence is not taken to have surrendered that licence.

(3) The Minister must amend a greenhouse gas injection and monitoring licence (including any condition of the licence) for the purpose of giving effect to the surrender of a right to inject a greenhouse gas substance.

[…]

178   Minister may give directions if authority expires or is surrendered or cancelled

(1) This section applies if an authority is surrendered or cancelled or expires.

(2) The Minister may direct the person who held the authority immediately before the surrender, cancellation, expiry or removal to do one or more of the following to the satisfaction of the Minister—

(a) remove, or cause to be removed, from the relevant area all property brought into that area under the authority, or to make other arrangements with respect to that property; and

(b) plug or close off all wells made in the relevant area under the authority; and

(c) subject to this Act, provide for the conservation and protection of the resources in the relevant area; and

(d) make good any damage to the surface of the land or the sub-soil in the relevant area caused by any person engaged or concerned in the operations conducted under the authority; and

(e) give to the Minister any information that it was obliged to give to the Minister.

(3) A direction must be given in writing and must specify by when it must be complied with.

(4) A person to whom a direction is given must comply with the direction within the time specified in the direction.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

(5) Nothing in this section requires the Minister to give a direction to any person.

(6) In this section relevant areameans—

(a) if an authority expires or is surrendered or cancelled in its entirety, the area to which the authority applied;

(b) in any other case, the area to which the authority no longer applies.

[…]

217   Rehabilitation

(1) The holder of an authority must rehabilitate any land that is used in carrying out any operation under the authority and must, as far as is practicable, complete the rehabilitation of the land before the authority, or any renewed authority, ceases to apply to the land.

(2) It is sufficient compliance with this section in respect of an operation if the holder of an authority fully complies with the rehabilitation measures in the operation plan concerning that operation.

[…]

222   Minister may carry out rehabilitation

(1) The Minister may do anything necessary to rehabilitate land that has been used for a greenhouse gas sequestration operation if he or she—

(a) is not satisfied that the land has been rehabilitated as required by section 217; or

(b) is satisfied that further rehabilitation of the land is necessary; or

(c) is asked to do so by the owner of the land.

(2) The Minister may only do this if he or she has asked the holder or former holder of the authority to rehabilitate the land and the holder or former holder has failed to do so within a reasonable period after the request.

(3) The Minister may recover as a debt due to the Crown in a court of competent jurisdiction any amount incurred under subsection (1) that cannot be recovered from the rehabilitation bond that applies in respect of the land.

(4) If the Minister refuses to act on a request under subsection (1)(c), he or she must inform the owner of the land of the reasons for that refusal.

223   Return of bond if rehabilitation satisfactory

The Minister must discharge a rehabilitation bond, or return a rehabilitation bond to the holder or former holder of the authority, as soon as possible once the Minister is satisfied—

(a) that the relevant land has been rehabilitated as required by section 217; and

(b) that the rehabilitation is likely to be successful; and

(c) that any other work in respect of which the bond was required has been satisfactorily completed.

[…]

228   Equipment must be removed once authority ceases

(1)      This section applies if an authority ceases to apply to any land.

(2) The person who held the authority at the time it ceased to apply to the land must remove all equipment brought on to the land under the authority within 60 days after the authority ceases to apply.

Penalty: 120 penalty units.

229   Minister may remove equipment

(1) If a person fails to comply with section 228 with respect to any equipment, the Minister may cause the equipment to be removed and may dispose of the equipment.

(2) The Minister may recover any cost involved in doing this from the rehabilitation bond that applies in respect of the relevant authority and from any proceeds that result from the disposal of the equipment.

(3) If the cost of removing or disposing of any equipment is greater than the amount that can be recovered under subsection (2) in relation to that equipment, the person must pay the difference to the Minister.

(4) The Minister may recover as a debt due to the Crown in a court of competent jurisdiction any amount payable under subsection (3).

V. Management of long-term responsibilities and liabilities
Allocation of long term responsibilities & liabilities

Summary

Section 16 of the Victorian Onshore Act provides that where an injection and monitoring licence is cancelled or surrendered, ownership of any CO2 or other greenhouse gas stored under that licence will transfer to the Crown.

Although there is no explicit provision in the Act for the transfer to the Crown of liability in respect of such CO2, it is possible that such transfer was intended to occur implicitly, as part of this transfer of ownership.

Article/Section No.

Section 16

Instrument Text

16      Ownership of greenhouse gas substance

If an injection and monitoring licence is cancelled or surrendered, the Crown becomes the owner of any greenhouse gas substance that has been injected into an underground geological formation under that licence.

Financial contributions to long term stewardship

Summary

Section 112 of the Victorian Onshore Act requires each holder of an injection and monitoring licence to pay an annual amount towards the estimated long-term monitoring and verification costs for the storage site, as set out in the approved injection and monitoring plan.

The amount is to be determined as a percentage, fixed by the Minister, of the total estimated cost of long-term monitoring and verification for the site.

Under section 174, where an injection and monitoring licence is to be surrendered, before such surrender the licence holder must pay the remaining long-term monitoring and verification costs not already paid under section 112. Any excess payment must, however, be refunded to the operator.

Article/Section No.

Section 112
Section 174

Instrument Text

112   Payment of long-term monitoring and verification costs

(1) It is a condition of an injection and monitoring licence that the holder of the licence must pay an annual instalment of the estimated long-term monitoring and verification costs set out in the approved injection and monitoring plan.

(2) The annual instalment amount is to be a percentage fixed by the Minister of the total estimated cost.

(3) The licence holder must pay each instalment by the date that it is due to be paid. 

174   Payment of long-term monitoring and verification costs

(1) If the Minister consents to the surrender of an injection and monitoring licence, the licence holder must, before surrendering the licence, pay the remaining cost of carrying out long-term monitoring and verification as detailed in the long-term monitoring and verification plan approved under section 170(2) and which has not already been paid in accordance with section 112.

(2) If the licence holder has paid more than the cost estimated in the long-term monitoring and verification plan, the licence holder is entitled to a refund of the difference between the amount paid and the cost estimated in the approved plan.