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Petroleum Resource Management

How Governments Manage Their Offshore Petroleum Resources

John A.P. Chandler

This thought-provoking book examines how countries manage their offshore petroleum resources by comparing the different approaches to licensing and regulation taken by Australia, Norway and the UK. It is based on extensive research into their policies and management practices, including interviews with government regulators and companies. These countries all face similar challenges as their offshore petroleum basins mature which means smaller discoveries, marginal production and ageing infrastructure. John Chandler analyses how their petroleum policy, systems of regulation, and regulators developed up to the present, and how they are responding to these challenges, as well as how they deal with exploration, development, infrastructure sharing and production.
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Preface and acknowledgements

John A.P. Chandler

This book examines how governments manage their offshore conventional petroleum resources. It analyses the policies, licensing systems and resource management regulations used for this purpose by comparing Australia, Norway and the United Kingdom and examining production sharing contracts.

It is a challenging time for petroleum production with offshore-producing basins reaching maturity, a transition occurring from hydrocarbons and other fossil fuels and accountability increasing in relation to sustainability and social issues. At the same time the world’s need for energy continues to grow. This book examines how governments are evolving their licensing systems to deal with such challenges, and how companies are responding.

Unless the context requires otherwise, to the best of my knowledge the law proffered in this book as current is up-to-date as at 30 June 2017, with changes up to January 2018 being indicated where possible.


Many people have commented on aspects of this book, including the initial research paper produced in 2016, or helped the research. I would particularly thank academic colleagues including Richard Bartlett, Terence Daintith, Greg Gordon, John Paterson, Stephen Smith and Jacqueline Weaver; those working in government including Terence McKinley from NOPTA, Bill Tinapple from the Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum, Simon Toole from the OGA, all now retired, Mette Agerup from the Norwegian Ministry of Mines and Petroleum and Johannes Kjode from NPD; and private individuals including John Boardman, David Bridges, Caroline Brown, Derek Cowie and Mike Scott. I would also like to acknowledge the research assistants who have helped me, particularly Jessica Chapman and Jeanette Jensen. These people have all given very generously of their time and saved me from numerous errors. Any remaining errors remain my responsibility. If you find any, I would like to hear from you. Finally, the research for this book would not have been possible without the financial support provided by AMPLA Limited, and I would like to thank the members of the Australian Resources and Energy Law Association and its Executive Director Sue Timbs for their support and encouragement.


The research for this book has relied, where possible, on primary sources from government, legislatures and companies, but has also referred to secondary material, such as commentary and scholarly works. The footnotes give references.

Interviews have been conducted with:

●  The Commonwealth Department of Industry;
●  The Australian National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator;
●  The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate;
●  The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy;
●  The United Kingdom’s Oil and Gas Authority;
●  Exploration and production companies; and
●  Non-government organisations.

Interviews were conducted on the basis that they could be published without attribution. In the footnotes sources have been cited by reference only to the date of the interview and whether it was with a regulator/ government body or industry.

John Chandler

Law School, University of Western Australia