Licenced pipelines are designed, constructed, operated and maintained in accordance with Australian Standard AS 2885 - Pipelines - Gas and Liquid Petroleum. Other licenced pipelines may be designed but they must follow standards approved by the Secretary of the Department.
Part 0 – General requirements
Part 1 - Design and construction
Part 2 - Welding
Part 3 - Operation and maintenance
Part 4 - Submarine pipelines
Part 5 - Field pressure testing
Part 6 – Pipeline safety management
Under the Pipelines Act 1967 and the Pipelines Regulation 2013, all pipeline licensees are required to lodge a pipeline management plan with the Department. The regulation also requires the pipeline licensee to monitor performance and procedures by conducting periodical independent third party audits of their pipeline management system.
If there are any issues found, the pipeline licensee must address these issues within an agreed timeframe to ensure safe and reliable pipeline operations.
An Authority to Survey is separate to a Pipeline Licence. It is not a requirement but the pipeline proponent may apply to the Minister for an Authority to Survey (ATS) to access lands along the proposed pipeline route. An ATS also contains strict terms which the proponent must follow. With an Authority to Survey you may enter areas to:
take soil and vegetation samples for examination and testing
consider technical and safety considerations as part of your investigation into possible pipeline routes, including set up of supporting equipment
carry out surveys to investigate possible routes for the proposed pipeline.
This vital information can assist in any submission made as part of the Environmental Impact Statement, and act as part of the planning and assessment process to determine the proposed pipeline route. This is permitted under the Parts 2 and 3 of the Pipelines Act 1967.
The pipeline planning and assessment process also involves consultation with landholders about access and minimising any interference to the land.
You can find details of the project and the environmental assessment requirements for preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Department of Planning and Environment’s website at majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au
Land access requirements for construction, operation and maintenance of a pipeline
An easement over land provides access for a licensee to construct, operate and maintain a pipeline, without having to acquire or own the whole parcel of land.
Pipeline Licence applicants are encouraged to negotiate easement agreements with landholders. This can take the form of an ‘easement option’ which outlines permissions and restrictions regarding access to land, including any specific requirements from the landholder.
If a landholder wants to be compensated, it doesn’t have to be monetary. It could involve an agreement where the licensee conducts maintenance, earthworks or infrastructure upgrades for the landholder.
If the Minister for Energy and Utilities is satisfied that the licensee has taken ‘all reasonable steps’ to enter into an access agreement with a landholder, but an agreement was not reached, the easements over land in question could be compulsorily acquired with compensation being given to the landholder.
Compensation is given in accordance with the principles outlined in the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991.
If you are an affected landholder, you should consider seeking legal advice in relation to your land access negotiations.
Under the Pipelines Regulation 2013, pipeline licensees are required to report pipeline related accidents, incidents and emergencies to the Department.
If a person is injured in an accident involving the construction, maintenance or operation of a pipeline, the Licensee must notify the Secretary of the Department in writing within 21 days. In the event of death or serious injury, the Secretary must be informed within 24 hours. A comprehensive report detailing the accident must be submitted.
If a pipeline carrying a specific substance suffers a leak or if the substance from the pipeline ignites, the Licensee must notify the Secretary of the Department immediately. The Licensee must carry out repairs as soon as possible. Once repairs are completed, the Licensee has 7 days to submit a comprehensive report documenting the incident, the cause, and details of the repairs carried out.
The Licensee of a pipeline must inform the Secretary immediately:
if an event occurs that results in emergency procedures being carried out on a pipeline
if unforeseen circumstances cause a disruption to the operation of a pipeline or interrupts the flow through the pipeline.
The Pipelines Regulation 2013, requires all Pipeline Licensees to lodge an Annual Report on the performance of their pipeline safety management system.
From 30 June 2016, Pipeline Performance Reports must be submitted using this online reporting application.
The Report is to comply with the reporting template below.
These reports are reviewed to ensure the pipeline safety and performance remains at the highest levels. From the information collated, the complete state report is then generated. The most recent reports can be accessed by clicking the links below.
The NSW Government licenses the construction and operation of cross-country transmission pipelines under the NSW Pipelines Act 1967.
In general, the licensing process consists of these stages:
Stage 1: Authority to Survey (Optional)
Granted by the Minister.
Allows access to lands to investigate pipeline routes.
Subject to conditions.
Stage 2: Licence
Approval under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 required prior to licensing.
Pipeline Application sent to Minister.
Resolution of Native Title claims within pipeline route.
Licence granted by Minister.
Subject to conditions including environmental and planning.
Allows construction of the pipeline within the licensed area.
Licence may be varied upon application to the Minister.
Stage 3: Consent to Operate
Granted by the Minister once the pipeline is assessed that it can operate safely.
Subject to conditions.
Pipelines licenced under the Pipelines Act 1967 are subject to environmental assessment in accordance with Part 4 or Part 5.1 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 prior to licencing (Department of Planning).
Based on the result of the environmental assessment, the pipeline licensee is usually required to develop and implement an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for the construction and operation of a pipeline. An EMP is only part of the pipeline Licensees safety management system and is integrated into the Pipeline Management Plan.
In 2013, the following regulation was remade under the Pipelines Act 1967.
The objective of Pipelines Regulation 2013 is to ensure that Licenced Pipelines are designed, constructed, maintained and operated, in a safe and reliable way. The regulation also provides requirements for licences and licence areas.
The Subordinate Legislation Act 1989 requires a Regulatory Impact Statement be implemented for all new statutory rules: