Biosecurity involves measures designed to prevent the entry and spread of plants, animals or diseases.

The oil and gas industry uses a risk-based and system-wide approach to address biosecurity threats resulting from the movement of vehicles and ships.

Every oil and gas project – whether onshore or offshore – must specifically address biosecurity in its environmental plans.

Onshore protection

Onshore biosecurity focuses on preventing, minimising and/or controlling the spread of pest animal species, harmful weeds, and soil and plant disease.

In Queensland, where most of Australia’s onshore oil and gas exploration and production is now occurring, companies have employed biosecurity specialists to minimise the risk of spreading unwanted plant and animal species.

The highest risk of weed spread occurs in earth-moving and construction activities. Strict wash-down processes are in place to minimise this risk.

Marine protection

Ballast water exchange is a major pathway for the spread of marine pests. It is estimated that up to 30% of the invasive marine species in Australia have arrived via ballast water.

Australia’s standards for marine biosecurity are consistent with those of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

All ships must discharge or exchange ballast water at least 12 nautical miles from the Australian coastline.

In addition, all overseas vessels – including liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels – arriving in Australia are required to submit a biosecurity Pre-Arrival Report (PAR) to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources within 12 to 96 hours before entering Australian ports.

Where the vessel is intending to discharge ballast water in a port, a Ballast Water Report is also required. The department conducts ballast water and general biosecurity compliance verification inspections onboard vessels.