That prior to the grant of any further exploration approvals, gas companies be required to develop and implement a well integrity management system (WIMS) for each well complying with ISO 16530-1:2017.
That prior to the grant of any further exploration approvals, each well must have an approved well management plan in place that contains, at a minimum, the following elements:
- consideration of well integrity management across the well life cycle;
- a well integrity risk management process that documents how well integrity hazards are identified and risks assessed;
- a well barrier plan containing well barrier performance standards, with specific reference to protection measures for beneficial use aquifers;
- a process for periodically verifying well barrier integrity through the operational life of the well and immediately prior to abandonment, and a system for reporting to the regulator the findings from integrity assessments;
- characterisation data for aquifers, saline water zones, and gas bearing zones in the formations intersected during drilling; and
- monitoring methods to be used to detect migration of methane along the outside of the casing.
Action item updates
The Northern Territory Government has 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.