Queensland's proposed licensing pathway for hydrogen open for comment
On 9 May 2023, the Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen introduced the Gas Supply and Other Legislation (Hydrogen Industry Development) Amendment Bill 2023 Qld into the Queensland Parliament, the purpose of which is to provide an efficient and effective regulatory framework for the hydrogen industry. It is open for consultation until 6 June 2023.
Proposed licensing pathway for hydrogen
The Bill would amend:
- the Gas Supply Act 2003 (Qld) to expand its jurisdiction to hydrogen, hydrogen blends, biomethane and other gases; and
- the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 (PAG) to create a regulatory pathway for authority to construct and operate pipelines for hydrogen and hydrogen carriers (including ammonia, methanol, methyl-cyclohexane, dimethyl-ether and toluene in pipelines).
The Bill was released as a consultation draft on 6 March 2023. At a glance, the key differences between the consultation draft Bill and the Bill as introduced are the following requirements and transitional provisions in the PAG:
Application for Pipeline Licence (PPL)
A proponent's application for a PPL must be accompanied by information relevant to the location, design, construction and operation of the pipeline.
section 410(1)(a)(ii) The Minister must be satisfied that an applicant for a PPL is able to competently and safely manage matters related to the location, design, construction and operation of the pipeline (referred to in the Explanatory Memorandum as the mandatory safety consideration).
Mandatory PPL condition
A safety management study (SMS) must be carried out before commencement of construction of the pipeline to identify, assess, and manage threats to the safety and integrity of the pipeline (excluding pipelines transporting produced water). A minimum notice period, record keeping requirements, and obligations as prescribed by regulation will apply to a SMS.
Undecided petroleum pipeline licence applications will be decided under the PAG as in force immediately before commencement of the Bill.
A transitional period of one year will apply to existing pipeline licences during which the pre-amended PAG will apply to the licence. Holders may apply to state a substance (eg. hydrogen) to be transported through the pipeline. If the pipeline licence is amended accordingly the amended PAG will apply to the pipeline.
During the transitional period, existing pipeline licence holders may notify the chief executive about existing substances being transported in pipelines, following which the amended PAG will apply to the pipeline.
Any pipe or systems of pipes (that was not a pipeline under the pre-amended PAG) that was transporting a substance that becomes regulated hydrogen on commencement because of new section 11A of the PAG, remain under their existing regulatory arrangements (eg. ammonia pipelines).
If the Bill is passed, a new regulatory framework will apply to the construction and operation of pipelines for the transmission of hydrogen and other renewable gases. The Bill was referred to the Transport and Resources Committee for detailed consideration. Submissions can be made until 6 June 2023 in the manner prescribed here.
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