The federal government has taken the unprecedented step of securing a stranded oil and gas platform in the Timor Sea.
Liquidators have been appointed to the Northern Oil and Gas Australia group of companies which operates the Northern Endeavour - a floating production, storage and offloading vessel.
A skeleton crew has been in place since November 2019.
Resources Minister Keith Pitt said in a statement on Friday he had established a temporary operations program to support the Northern Endeavour.
"It is essential that we ensure the protection of the environment around the Laminaria-Corallina project in the Timor Sea and maintain the world-recognised reputation of our oil and gas industry, as well as the effectiveness of our independent regulators," Mr Pitt said.
"My department is in active negotiations with qualified companies with a view to engaging an experienced, reliable operator with the necessary support services. I expect initial negotiations to be concluded in coming days."
He said it was a "wake-up call" for the oil and gas industry.
"It is vital that Australia's oil and gas sector's strong reputation for environmental safety and security is maintained."
The program will include maintaining the facility in "lighthouse mode" - no production, with minimum crew required for safe operations - as well as securing the facility and associated wells for the Laminaria-Corallina field, and undertaking the required operational activities.
Australian Associated Press