Santos wells leaking offshore WA - report

13th June 2023 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

PERTH ( – The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority (Nopsema) on Tuesday said that it would not comment on oil and gas major Santos’ environment plans at its Legendre fields, offshore Western Australia.

Media reports on Tuesday suggested that an unknown number of disused wells have been leaking gas over the last ten years and that Santos submitted a plan to Nopsema in early 2022 rejecting action to stem the leaks as "not technically feasible".

It was reported that, instead, the ASX-listed company had proposed monitoring the leaks for another five years.

Media reports from the Nine newspapers claimed that the leaks at the Legendre fields were first discovered in 2013, two years after work was done to seal the wells.

Nopsema told Mining Weekly Online on Tuesday that the regulatory body had requested Santos undertake activity to show the cause of the reported seepage and required that Santos submit an environment plan to demonstrate the appropriate management of any works undertaken.

“Nopsema cannot comment on specifics of an environmental plan while it is under assessment,” the watchdog said in a statement.

Santos was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.

Nopsema regulates and monitors operational and temporarily abandoned wells and has no regulatory authority to monitor the integrity of wells permanently abandoned under a previous regulatory regime of designated authorities. Currently, Nopsema has regulatory oversight of 873 wells overall, as covered by Well Operations Management Plans. Of these, 457 are operational wells, 326 are shut-in, suspended or temporarily abandoned wells, and 90 have completed abandonment operations and are pending Nopsema’s acceptance of a final abandonment report.