When considering whether or not to take action using formal powers the NSTA will review that issue alongside its prioritisation criteria which can be found below:

Power to act, including but not limited to:

  • Whether the NSTA has discretion over whether to act or not?
  • Is there an urgency to act now?

Failure to comply with petroleum-related requirements

  • For a sanctions case, the Disputes and Sanctions team will carry out an Initial Assessment to examine whether there is sufficient initial evidence that there has been a failure to comply with a petroleum-related requirement (for example, potential non-compliance with the NSTA Strategy) and whether a full Investigation under the NSTA’s sanctions powers is merited or whether it is better to use other regulatory levers/powers (whether formal or informal) at the NSTA’s disposal. The NSTA notes that the evidential threshold for commencing its Investigations is low. A full investigation will be handled in accordance with the NSTA’s Sanctions procedure.

Impact on the NSTA’s Strategy, including but not limited to:

  • Value of barrels of oil (or equivalent) at risk;
  • Whether the preferred course of action changes in a positive way the future behaviour of the parties involved and industry in general; and
  • Whether the risk to the Strategy is immediate and whether that risk is direct

Strategic significance for the NSTA, including but not limited to:

  • Would the preferred course of action establish a material principle or precedent?
  • What is the significance of the failure or suspected failure to comply with the objectives of the Strategy?
  • What is the risk the issue raises to any NSTA priorities, as set out in the NSTA’s annual report, its corporate plan or in any NSTA publication?
  • Will the case influence industry behaviours?
  • Is there any risk to the reputation of the NSTA?

Likelihood of success

  • The NSTA may also take into consideration the likelihood of success of any preferred course of action. The NSTA does not, however, intend to put much weight on this factor in the assessment phase, as it may only be possible to determine ‘success’ if the issue requires further intervention

NSTA time and cost, including but not limited to:

  • What cost will the proposed course of action impose on the NSTA (including the opportunity cost of not progressing other important cases/projects)?
  • Is the potential cost proportionate to the proposed course of action?
  • Are there adequate resources to carry out the action in a timely manner?
  • What are the comparative benefits to the Strategy of using those resources in other ways?