Investigations by petroleum and gas inspectors
Inspectors exercise discretion in deciding the extent to which contraventions, complaints and prescribed incidents will be investigated. During an investigation, an inspector may perform any of the functions of an inspector and exercise any powers necessary to complete their job. In addition to other activities, investigations usually include:
- taking photographs or video recordings
- gathering evidence
- recording conversations
- taking formal statements
- conducting interviews.
If evidence is seized, the inspector will issue a receipt for the item and an information notice outlining the reasons for the seizure. The inspector will explain the process for seizure, storage, and return of the item to the owner once it is no longer required. If a seized item is not returned within 1 year, the owner may apply to the Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate (PGI) for it to be returned.
Investigations of serious prescribed incidents are usually undertaken in teams and will begin immediately after the PGI is notified about the prescribed incident.
Inspectors may visit a place several times in order to complete an investigation. The time taken to complete the investigation will vary depending on the circumstances. Complex investigations may take many months to complete.
In the event of the death of a person, the PGI will liaise with police and other government agencies to notify the next of kin. During this contact, the next of kin will be consulted about their preferences for ongoing contact and how they can access further information about the investigation.
Methods used by inspectors
Inspectors may use a range of methods to enforce the law. Inspectors may:
- provide constructive guidance
- exercise powers
- give directions
- issue penalty infringement notices (PINs) or fines
- commence court proceedings for an offence under the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 (prosecution).
The Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate enforces the legislation in accordance with its compliance policy.
When taking enforcement action, inspectors will explain:
- the reasons for taking the action
- the evidence on which they have based their decision
- what you should do to comply and the date by which you must comply
- where you can get information or advice about how to comply
- your rights to review.
- Read about news and updates from the Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate via newsletters, chief inspector updates and service delivery snapshots.