(Northern Territory) Code of Practice: Onshore Petroleum Activities

Last updated: 8 March 2024

Includes methane specific emission monitoring, leak detection and reporting requirements for onshore petroleum operations in the Northern Territory. 


The scope of the code of practice for methane emissions covers: 

- Pre-exploration and pre-operation baseline assessments;

- Routine periodic air monitoring;

- Leak detection and repair (LDAR);

- Venting and flaring;

- Other emission sources from petroleum activities; and

- Reporting requirements. 


The Code of Practice also outlines the types and requirements for methane monitoring. These include: 

- Baseline Methane Assessments - This covers ambient methane levels before production. Measurement is to take place 6 months before production. In the case of hydraulic fracturing, this is to take place 12 months before production commences. 

- Regional Methane Assessment Programs (RMAP) - This covers existing natural methane sources across permit sites. Measurement is to take place 6 months before production and in the case of hydraulic fracturing, 12 months before production commences. 

- Routine Periodic Atmospheric Monitoring - Operates on a periodic basis for the life of the project. Routine monitoring of the whole facility is to take place every 5 years, with monitoring equipment being installed 12 months before production begins. 


Methane Emission Management Plan (MEMP)

This  must be submitted before production at an onshore petroleum project. The methane targets are to be in line with ALARP (as low as reasonably practicable). 


To manage and detect fugitive emissions, inspection of compressor stations and pneumatic devices required every 3 months, well-pads every 6 months, and pipelines and processing plants every 12 months. Leak testing must be conducted using EPA Method 21 or with optical gas imaging.


Venting and flaring should be either eliminated or minimised to as low as reasonably practicable. Reduced emissions completions should be employed where technically feasible, and if not feasible, flaring should be preferred to venting. When flaring or venting takes place, emissions must be estimated and reported consistent with the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Measurement) Determination, 2008.

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