Minerals and energy law expert Dr Tina Hunter has identified the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) as one of the three best regulatory organisations in the world, stating they are “professional and have the necessary experience and processes to implement best practice”.
Dr Hunter, an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, who has consulted to governments and industry groups in a host of jurisdictions, made the comments when asked if she believed the DMP had taken seriously her recommendations made in a review she was commissioned to undertake in 2011 relating to shale and tight gas activities in Western Australia.
She said WA’s DMP was one of only three regulators worldwide that she identified as being fully competent regulators. The other two included South Australia and the United Kingdom’s Department of Energy and Climate Change.
Dr Hunter dismissed the idea that DMP could have a conflict of interest in enforcing regulations for an industry it “subsidised”.
“DMP does not subsidise the industry … The State Government has several roles as owner of the resources, regulator, granter of access to the resource and the body that collects revenue,” she said.
“This inherently creates conflict for any government agency, not DMP in particular.”
On whether she thought new resource management regulations being introduced by DMP were adequate, Dr Hunter said she had been heavily involved in the drafting and that they represented good practice.
“As you would have seen in my report, the DMP is a fine regulator that needs laws to support it,” she said.
“The laws that have been drafted and are being implemented will give the regulator the necessary tools to effectively regulate petroleum activities in WA.”
Dr Hunter said that she believed it was essential that the Government should be the regulator of the industry.
“But it is also essential that the regulator builds competency and is as competent as the companies it is regulating,” she said.
“The DMP is exceptionally competent.”