Petroleum acreage releases

Amendments to the Petroleum Act 1984 (1 January 2014) allow for the controlled release of vacant land and the government to accept multiple applications for exploration permits on the same acreage, providing for a more competitive assessment process.

Release areas vary in size and the level of existing geological knowledge and, may be covered by the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 or Native Title Act 1993.

Amendments to the Petroleum Act 1984 on 30 March 2020 require:

  • the public and stakeholders to be notified and consulted about any proposed land release
  • the following to be considered when deciding whether to release land:
    • prospectivity of the land
    • co-existence between exploration and existing or proposed industries in the area
    • whether the land is an area of intensive agriculture, high ecological value, high scenic value, culturally significant or strategically significant
  • a statement of reasons is published stating why the land has been released and why co-existence is deemed possible.

2021 Northern Territory Petroleum Acreage Release

There are two areas available for oil and gas exploration in the 2021 Northern Territory Petroleum Acreage Release. The areas are located in the Georgina Basin.

The release areas vary in size and the level of existing geological knowledge and, are covered by the Native Title Act 1993.

The areas cover some of the most prospective regions of the southern part of the Georgina Basin, which is a frontier basin with known thick organic-rich shales and widespread documented oil and gas shows.

The release areas are supported by existing well and seismic data together with regional geological data. Previous exploration work includes 2D seismic surveys and thirteen exploration wells, some of which have undergone hydraulic fracture stimulation and testing.

Applications and submissions for the grant of a petroleum exploration permit opened on 16 June 2021 and close at 4pm ACST on 16 November 2021.

You may comment on the proposed acreage release by lodging a submission under section 16(2)(db) of the Petroleum Act 1984. Refer to the submissions section below.

Applications will be assessed on proposed work programs, financial capacity and exploration expertise of the company.

The Minister for Mining and Industry will consider any applications and submissions, and determine to release the blocks for exploration, or otherwise.

Description of blocks

Release areas EPNT21-1 and EPNT21-2 consist of 197 blocks and 195 blocks (respectively).

EPNT21-1 block map PDF (519.3 KB)

EPNT21-2 block map PDF (469.3 KB)

To view the areas, go to the STRIKE website.

Geoscience data and reports

Refer to the Petroleum geoscience data and reports for the Georgina Basin NT document, for information and links about how to access relevant data in the Georgina Basin including the acreage release areas.

Petroleum geoscience data and reports for the Georgina Basin, NT PDF (2.1 MB)
Petroleum geoscience data and reports for the Georgina Basin, NT DOCX (4.4 MB)

Submissions

You may comment on the proposed acreage release by lodging a submission under section 16(2)(db) of the Petroleum Act 1984.

The Minister for Mining and Industry will consider the submissions and make a determination to release the specified blocks for exploration or otherwise.

Submissions may be made between 16 June 2021 and close at 4pm ACST on 16 November 2021 and are limited to the following:

  1. if there are other existing or proposed industries for a specified block - whether exploration of the specified block is possible at the same time
  2. whether the land of a specified block is suitable for exploration.

Note: The submission may submit that the land is not suitable for exploration because the land is:

  1. subject to intensive agriculture
  2. of high ecological value
  3. of high scenic value
  4. culturally significant, or
  5. of strategic importance to nearby residential areas.

Submissions are to be emailed to ditt.petroleumrelease@nt.gov.au.

Applications

Applications should be prepared in accordance with section 16(3) of the Petroleum Act 1984 and must be submitted prior to 4pm ACST on 16 November 2021.

The right to negotiate process under the Native Title Act 1993 is used for all petroleum negotiations on pastoral leasehold land and applies to the acreage release areas.

For further information about the right to negotiate process, go to the Northern Territory Government website.

Details relating to the making, consideration and determination of, an application for the grant of a petroleum exploration permit are available in the guidelines PDF (1.1 MB) | DOCX (778.5 KB) issued under s21E of the Petroleum Act 1984.

The application form together with supporting data may be submitted to energytitles.ditt@nt.gov.au.

Land release petroleum exploration permit application PDF (763.3 KB)
Land release petroleum exploration permit application DOCX (67.5 KB)

NT petroleum exploration permit application guideline PDF (1.1 MB)
NT petroleum exploration permit application guideline DOCX (778.5 KB)

Fee

From 1 July 2021, the fee for an exploration permit application is $5,694.

An invoice will be raised on request. Invoices are payable by BPAY, credit card (online and phone), cheque, direct credit and in person at the Department of Corporate and Digital Development.

Determination of release of blocks

The Minister for Mining and Industry will consider the submissions and applications, and determine which blocks will be released for exploration, or otherwise.

Any decision will be published on the department’s website, including a reason why the blocks are appropriate for exploration.

Contact Us

For application and legislation enquiries, email energytitles.ditt@nt.gov.au.

For queries relating to exploration related data, email geoscience.info@nt.gov.au.


Last updated: 18 August 2021

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