The Department is responsible for the oversight of legislative requirements for licensing of cross-country transmission pipelines under the Pipelines Act 1967 within the state of New South Wales. Predominantly these pipelines convey oil, gas and petroleum and the Department oversees the safety and integrity of the pipelines once they are licensed.
The Pipelines Act 1967 aims to:
- implement a timely and efficient approvals system to facilitate the construction of cross-country transmission pipelines in New South Wales;
- ensure the effect of a pipeline project commenced under the Act on the environment, landowners and native titleholders is properly considered and managed;
- ensure pipeline licensees protect the environment, pipeline employees and the public from dangers arising from both pipeline construction and the transmission of potentially hazardous substances.
Under the Pipelines Act 1967, any person who wishes to construct and operate a pipeline for the purposes of any substance, can do so under an authorisation or Licence. Requirements of the Act and associated Regulations must be met in all respects.
Not all pipelines are required to be licensed and these include, but are not limited to:
- a pipeline constructed or to be constructed under another Act, such as the Gas Supply Act 1996, or the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991;
- a pipeline constructed or to be constructed by a public authority;
- pipeline constructed or to be constructed situated wholly within the boundaries of land and designed for use solely for the residential, business, commercial or industrial purposes carried out on that land;
- a pipeline constructed or to be constructed for the purpose of the supply of water (including for irrigation), the drainage of land or the conveyance of waste water, mine water, aqueous slurries of minerals, mineral concentrates or mineral tailings;
- a pipeline of the prescribed class constructed or to be constructed for the conveyance of dangerous goods within the meaning of the Road and Rail Transport (Dangerous Goods) Act 1997;
- a pipeline constructed or to be constructed for returning petroleum to a natural reservoir, conveying petroleum for use for the purposes of petroleum exploration operations or operations for the recovery of petroleum, or for conveying petroleum that is to be flared or vented;
- any pipeline so determined by the Minister for Energy not to be a pipeline as prescribed under the Pipelines Act 1967.
Under the Pipelines Regulation 2005, all pipeline operators must develop and implement a Safety and Operating Plan, which is then used to monitor the ongoing performance of the pipeline operator.