The federal government has committed to decommissioning the Northern Endeavor floating production storage facility, although the cost to taxpayers has yet to be determined.

The Commonwealth Government has been responsible for the maintenance of the Northern Endeavor and associated subsea infrastructure since February 2020, when its owners, the Northern Oil and Gas Australia (NOGA) group of companies, went into liquidation.

The Northern Endeavor is located in the Timor Sea, some 550 kilometers northwest of Darwin. It stopped producing oil in 2019.

Australia’s Resources, Water and Northern Minister Keith Pitt said the Northern Endeavor dismantling and remediation procedure is the most cost-effective approach to removing future threats and ensuring protection the environment, although the total cost is still unknown.

He is committed to ensuring that a similar situation does not happen again.

“We have been ensuring the safety of the facility and performing critical maintenance work since we took responsibility for the facility and will now begin the process of decommissioning and remediation of the fields,” he said in a press release last month.

The statement quoted Pitt as saying that “the cost of dismantling was not clear but taxpayers should not bear the costs.”

“We have worked closely with the offshore oil and gas industry on proposals to recover costs,” he said.

“The government has worked actively with key players in the offshore oil and gas industry to seek advice on reforms to ensure that the circumstances surrounding the Northern Endeavor do not recur.

“These reforms will take into account the recommendations and findings of the independent review of the administration and liquidation of the NOGA group by offshore regulatory expert Steve Walker.”

The ABC reported last April that the abandoned ship had cost taxpayers $ 86 million since February 2020, with forecasts from an independent senator that full decommissioning could cost as much as $ 1 billion.

The decommissioning and cleanup of Northern Endeavor will take several years. It will include the dismantling of the installation and its disconnection from the subsea infrastructure. The wells will be completely plugged and abandoned, the underwater infrastructure will be removed and the restoration work will be completed.

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