© DMIRS. State of Western Australia

Sample management

In 2013, in collaboration with Geoscience Australia (GA) and the Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA – a branch of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety), NOPTA established the National Offshore Petroleum Data and Core Repository (NOPDCR) through which petroleum mining samples from Commonwealth waters are managed. The offshore petroleum mining samples previously located at other state or territory repositories have been consolidated and relocated to Canberra and Perth.

Submission requirements for petroleum mining samples

Detailed guidelines for the submission of all offshore petroleum mining samples have been created to assist operators and contractors with the submission of physical samples to the NOPDCR. The 'Commonwealth offshore petroleum sample submission standards' are available through the related documents below.

Queries regarding these guidelines should be directed to data@nopta.gov.au.

Viewing or sampling of confidential petroleum mining samples

Viewing or sampling of confidential petroleum mining samples is restricted to the titleholder(s) who obtained the samples or other persons nominated by them.

Please direct requests for approval to view and/or sample confidential petroleum mining samples (including confidential slides) to data@nopta.gov.au and provide the following information:

  • name, address and country of the company or person seeking access
  • title number
  • well name(s)
  • description and details of the samples (including depths where appropriate)
  • details of level of access required (i.e. viewing, borrowing or sampling)
  • evidence in the form of a letter that access is approved by the titleholder(s) responsible for drilling the well (where another operator is requesting access to confidential samples).

Viewing and sampling of publicly released petroleum mining samples

Viewing or sampling of publicly released petroleum mining samples is not regulated by the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Resource Management and Administration) Regulations 2011 (RMA Regulations). GSWA grants access to all publically released offshore petroleum slides. The GA repository grants access to all other publically released offshore petroleum mining samples.

Conditions of viewing, borrowing of slides or sampling publicly released petroleum mining samples may be obtained by contacting GSWA and GA directly:

Export of petroleum mining samples and reporting requirements

Under Regulation 7.06–7.10 of the RMA Regulations, titleholders who have conducted drilling operations must seek approval from the Titles Administrator prior to exporting confidential petroleum mining samples from Australia.

Approval is for a 12 month period, unless otherwise agreed by the Titles Administrator.

Where samples are not subjected to destructive analysis, all remaining materials must be returned to the originating repository. Any residues or thin sections created must be submitted to the GSWA (please refer to the submission addresses webpage).

Approval by the Titles Administrator is not required for the export of petroleum mining samples that have been publicly released. However, approval to export these samples is required from GA.

Approval by the Titles Administrator is not required for the export of petroleum mining samples that have been publicly released. However, approval to export these samples is required from GA.

Under Regulation 7.08, the titleholder must provide a report on the progress of the sampling analysis within 12 months of authorisation to export being provided in addition to a final report outlining the results of the analysis.

Please direct requests for approval to export confidential mining samples to data@nopta.gov.au and provide the following information:

  • title number
  • well name(s)
  • rig release date(s)
  • confirmation that the titleholder/operator requesting the export approval was responsible for drilling of the well
  • the current location of the samples
  • description and details of the samples (including depths where appropriate)
  • the name, address and country of the company that will be undertaking the analysis
  • details of analysis
  • whether the analysis is destructive
  • whether the analysis will result in the creation of thin sections/slides
  • anticipated timeframe for returning samples and reporting for retained samples, confirmation that the titleholder will be able to submit the required sample amount(s) under Regulation 7.20.

The export approval number should be quoted on all related correspondence and the relevant data submission transmittal(s).

Variation to sample submission requirements

A variation to submissions requirements for an offshore petroleum activity may be authorised by the Titles Administrator under Part 7 of the RMA Regulations. Variations may include extended submission timing, non-standard submissions, non-standard sample quantity or requests to retain, preserve or cover cores in resin. Variations must be approved prior to the submission due date.

A request to vary submission requirements should be directed to data@nopta.gov.au and include the following information:

  • title number(s)
  • activity details, such as well name
  • the relevant regulation in which the request is being made (which submission requirement)
  • the relevant submission type, such as 1/3 core or drill cuttings
  • the reason for this request
  • requested alternative, for example new submission date or quantity
  • any foreseeable impact the request may have on the availability of the sample for public release.

The submission variation approval number should be quoted on all related correspondence and the relevant data submission transmittal(s).