Action item 5.1



Approved by decision makers.
Recommendation implemented.

That prior to the grant of any further exploration approvals, the Government mandates an enforceable code of practice setting out minimum requirements for the decommissioning of any onshore shale gas wells in the NT. The development of this code must draw on world-leading practice. It must be sufficiently flexible to accommodate improved decommissioning technologies. The code must include a requirement that:

  • wells undergo pressure and cement integrity tests as part of the decommissioning process, with any identified defects to be repaired prior to abandoning the well; and
  • cement plugs be placed to isolate critical formations and that testing must be conducted to confirm that the plugs have been properly set in the well.
Target completion date


Reform area
Ensuring accountable industry practice
Project action
Developing transparent and enforceable codes of practice
Lead agency
Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade

Action item update

Implementation progress

The Northern Territory Government worked with independent scientific experts to develop a Code of Practice relative to the Inquiry's recommendation. The Code is legally enforceable through the Petroleum (Environment) Regulations 2016. The finalised Code was published on 12 June 2019 and can be found here.