Oil and gas companies who are considering importing oil and gas drilling rigs into Australia might be interested to know which government authorities are responsible for issuing relevant approvals and permits. The three relevant departments are Department of Infrastructure and Transport; the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF); and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) (for an applicant who is based in Queensland).

Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)

DAFF is the department responsible for moving goods into and out of Australia and their concern is with managing the risks to the environment, plant and human health. The importation requirements will be different depending upon whether machinery is new or used. Import permits must be applied for prior to arrival. Also, an inspection at the Wharf will be necessary to ensure the drilling rigs are not contaminated with any harmful materials and chemicals. If the inspection is not satisfactory, then the drilling rigs will be transported to nominated premises for further cleaning.

Department of Infrastructure and Transport

The Department of Infrastructure and Transport is responsible for ensuring rigs meet the relevant engineering standards. The requirements are different depending upon the size and mass of the machinery being moved and whether it is “mobile machinery” or “trailer-mounted”. Photographs, dimensions and other relevant details may be required in order to assist the Department to reach its conclusion as to whether a permit should be granted.

National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR)

NHVR’s responsibility is to register machinery such as drilling rigs where they are to be transported and operated in the State of Queensland. If the drilling rigs do not fall within the relevant size and mass standards, then the NHVR may issue a “Special Purpose Machinery” approval to register the drilling rigs for operation. Approval from NHVR will not be granted until importation permits from DAFF are first obtained.

In addition, there may be further approvals or permits required depending on individual circumstances.