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Legal Regulatory Framework for Offshore Well Decommissioning in Australia


Project Description

The Aberdeen-Curtin Alliance was established in early 2017, combining 500 years of academic strength, history and tradition at Scotland’s University of Aberdeen with the ambition and innovation of the rapidly growing Curtin University, based in Perth, Western Australia. The alliance offers students the opportunity to undertake a collaborative PhD in projects across a broad range of focus areas including energy and engineering, health and medicine, and business.

Project details

As the Australian offshore petroleum sector continues to mature, this will give rise to increased decommissioning activities which require an investigation of the legal and regulatory framework and risks associated with offshore well decommissioning.

After the Brent Spar incident in 1995, the international community, under the auspices of the OSPAR Convention and in consideration of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), guidelines were established for the treatment of petroleum infrastructure. In particular, OSPAR Decision 98/3 prohibits the dumping and leaving wholly/partly in place of infrastructure unless the competent authority is satisfied that there are significant reasons why it should remain.

Whereas the OSPAR 98/3 decision (which is the primary international law guiding principle, even though it only applies to the Atlantic) detailed the disposal/treatment related to the installations and infrastructure, international law, and often national law remains silent on the requirements for decommissioning production wells when a field or installation is being decommissioned. Often national law will only consider or regulate the abandonment of an exploration well. Such a legal dilemma occurs since many jurisdictions, Australia included, did not require the planning of production well decommissioning as part of the field development plan.

This project seeks to evaluate the Australian legal regulatory framework, both nationally and within the requirements of international law, pertaining to the decommissioning of production wells as part of the decommissioning of exhausted petroleum fields. Such analysis will include Australian and international law, and may also require an examination of other petroleum jurisdictions such as the UK, and Norway.

Application process

Provide an Expression of Interest (EOI) reflecting your academic background in the area of study, and why you are interested in pursuing a PhD in this field. The EOI should be a maximum of 500 words that must include your name, your project of interest in addition to your academic background and suitability. It would be great to attach your CV/Resume with your EOI and send these two files in PDF format on email to .

Eligibility criteria

Meet the standard PhD course entry requirements for both institutions. If English is not your first language, please visit the following link for details of the requirements: https://international.curtin.edu.au/apply/english-prerequisites/

Enquiries

For specific project/research information please contact the Curtin/Aberdeen supervisor for your project of interest:

Curtin Supervisor: Dr Hugh Finn
Email:

Aberdeen Supervisor: Professor Tina Soliman Hunter
Email:

For general information contact

For further online details of the scholarship please refer to: https://scholarships.curtin.edu.au/Scholarship/?id=3910

Funding Notes

Living stipends will be awarded to the successful applicant. The living stipend is paid by the home institution when the student is studying at the home institution, and then by the host when the student is offshore at the host institution. The stipend rates are payable at the rate for each country. Curtin University will pay it’s stipend at the Australian Government RTP scholarship base rate of AU$27,596.00 (2019) per annum. The University of Aberdeen will pay the UK Research and Innovation National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for 2018/19 of £14,777 per annum.

Further information about the Curtin/Aberdeen scholarship entitlements will be made available through the Aberdeen and Curtin Alliance website View Website

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