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To report a serious incident to DEM, as required by Section 85(2) of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000, licensees should contact the serious incident report no: (08) 8463 6666.

As part of informing the regulatory process, Energy Resources Division commissions independent assessments and reviews, and constantly monitors national and international research to ensure decision-making relies on scientific, professional and appropriate assessment of risk.

Links to key research projects and assessments relevant are provided below:

The Energy Resources Division of the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC-ERD) regulates petroleum and geothermal energy industries under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 (PGE Act) and the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Regulations 2013. The regulatory framework is objective based and protects the natural, economic and social aspects of the environment within which activities regulated under the PGE Act are carried out. Key to this objective is the requirement for licensees to adopt and demonstrably implement good practices over the life cycle of their activities and projects.

In the context of well operations well cement integrity is a critical component to achieving one of the key regulatory objectives for the protection of groundwater resources.

To this end, as part of informing the regulatory process DPC-ERD commissioned an independent literature review into the integrity of cement by the University of Adelaide to identify and report on factors that play an important role in the integrity of cement for long term isolation along the entire well life cycle – from engineering design to execution and verification. Information derived from literature together with recommendations are provided in the report.


Critical to cement integrity for the purpose of zonal isolation are:

  • Appropriate design and verification of the placement of cement; and
  • Long term performance of cements.

International studies, hyper-links included below, confirm these findings and conclude that the proper placement of cement is more critical to achieving long term zonal isolation than cement deterioration. Proper placement of cement is achieved by adopting relevant industry standards for cementing design and verification to ensure adverse leakage pathways within the cement sheath and between the cement sheath and casing and/or rock formation are avoided.

Baseline integrity property measurement of legacy oil and gas wells for carbon storage projects

An estimate of the time to degrade the cement sheath in a well exposed to carbonated brine

Well Integrity Assessment for Two Monitoring Wells at Cranfield Field

Flora and Fauna Communities of the Cooper-Eromanga Basin

In 2016 Department of the Premier and Cabinet – Energy Resources Division (DPC-ERD) engaged the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources - Science and Information Group (DEWNR-SIG) to undertake a characterisation of flora and fauna communities of the Cooper-Eromanga basins in South Australia, to provide fit-for-purpose ecological knowledge for the energy industry, the regulator and the state’s lead environmental agency.

This project drew upon the expertise and biological information within DEWNR-SIG, supplemented by information resources of DPC-ERD and newly acquired field survey data, to confirm the current understanding of the natural environment, flora and fauna communities, high value natural assets (e.g. Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC), National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (NPW) conservation listed flora, fauna and communities) and their spatial locations across the region.

This project collated existing and new information to fill a current gap on publicly available flora and fauna community mapping and reporting in this region of the state. The information obtained from the project is available to both industry and government agencies, as well as the general public, through a spatial layer on the South Australia Resource Information Geo-server (SARIG):

Download PDF 21 MB

Criteria for the Abandonment of Seismic Lines and Wellsites in the South Australian Portion of the Cooper Basin

This study aimed to identify and assess the impacts of seismic lines and wellsites in the South Australian area of the Cooper Basin. The impacts are assessed in terms of their relative significance (adverse or long lasting effects) to the surrounding area. In doing this the temporal nature of rehabilitation and changes in wellsite and seismic line preparation techniques have been considered.

Airborne Video for Environmental Monitoring

This article outlines the development and application of an airborne video monitoring system by Minerals and Energy Resources of South Australia. It's primary objective is the assessment of environmental compliance of seismic operations in petroleum exploration in South Australia.(Jan 2002)

Download PDF 1.1 MB

Floristic Recovery of Native Vegetation article

A short article on the key findings of a report commissioned by PIRSA (formerly MESA) in 1995 to assess the recovery over time of native vegetation after slashers are used in the preparation of seismic lines. The key focus was whether slashing altered the native vegetation in the long term or the vegetation returned to its non-impacted state.

Download PDF 271.4 KB

Changes in vegetation over nine years after rehabilitating a linear feature in Australia's arid zone

A CSIRO journal article where an old 1960s road between Ayers Rock (Uluru) and the Olgas (Kata Tjuta) was rehabilitated and monitored.

Download PDF 5.9 MB

Cooper Creek Spill Study Summary Report

A study of the potential effects of a crude oil or condensate spill into the Cooper Creek as a result of a pipeline leak or rupture.
Download PDF 547.8 KB

Downhole Risk Practices Associated with Drilling and Well Completion Practices

This report presents the findings of a study undertaken by a university student employed by PIRSA to investigate the actual and potential downhole risks associated with drilling and completion practices in the Cooper and Eromanga Basins. The results of this study will be considered by the industry which has initiated a detailed research project into the risks on the Great Artesian Basin associated with drilling and completion practices in the Cooper and Eromanga Basins. This industry study, co-ordinated by the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy is a condition of approval of the existing Statement of Environmental Objectives (SEO) for drilling and well operations in the Cooper/Eromanga Basin in South Australia as gazetted on the 31 October 2000.

Download PDF 5.4 MB

Review of Borrow Pit Construction, Use and Rehabilitation within the Cooper Basin SA

This report presents the findings of a review undertaken by Jacobs SKM in 2013 of the Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) criteria for the construction and rehabilitation of Borrow Pits within the Cooper Basin SA. The review identified that an amendment of the GAS criteria would provide positive environmental outcomes particularly to address potential cumulative impacts associated with both legacy pits and the ongoing construction of new pits across the basin. The report provides a number of recommendations including a revised, consistent set of objectives and GAS criteria for borrow pits in the Cooper Basin.
Download PDF 3.47MB

Gas Criteria Tables for the Construction, Management and Rehabilitation of Borrow Pits

Following the recommendations in the Jakobs SKM report on borrow pit construction, use and rehabilitation, these tables were developed by the Department of State Development (DSD) in consultation with other relevant government agencies and industry and released in November 2014 for incorporation into relevant Statement of Environmental Objectives (SEO). 
Download PDF  57KB

Net Community Benefits Resulting From a Seismic Line Restoration Offset Payment

This article details a seismic line audit undertaken by PIRSA that resulted in an agreement with industry, whereby offset payment to fund projects of direct environmental benefit to the Innamincka Regional Reserve have been accepted by Government, in place of extensive rehabilitation work to restore ecologically neutral erosion gullies. 
Download PDF 296.1 KB

Summary of Aerial Surveys Conducted for the Santos Ltd EPP32 Seismic Survey, 2-13 December 2003 

Report detailing blue whale sightings during a 2D seismic survey conducted within EPP32. Margie G. Morrice, Peter C. Gill, John Hughes and Andrew H. Levings.
Download PDF 7.7 MB

Techniques Used in Seismic Survey Line Preparation in the Cooper Basin (Qld)

Read about the development of innovative equipment for preparing and recording seismic lines in dense lignum vegetation. The equipment was used during 2D and 3D seismic surveys conducted by Santos in the Eromanga Basin of southwest Queensland. The report includes photographs of the purpose-built equipment and photographs showing rapid regeneration of the lignum.
Download PDF 5.1 MB

The Impact of Seismic Lines on Ant Communities in the Cooper Basin

This is the final report by the South Australian Museum following a two year study. Almost 67,000 ants were caught and classified making this the largest single study of ants carried out in Australia. (March 2002)
Download PDF 2.3 MB

Validation of use of Ants as Bioindicators of the Impact of Seismic Operations

A supplementary report by the South Australian Museum, detailing a study undertaken in the Cooper Basin to investigate the use of ants as bioindicators of the impact of seismic operations. 
Download PDF 121.7 KB

Visual Assessment of the Recovery of 3D Seismic Lines in the Cooper Basin, South Australia

This study explores the visual recovery rates of 3D Seismic Lines in the Cooper Basin that lie within South Australia and were created between 1992 and 2015.

South Australian government regulations currently determine the environmental standards for seismic exploration. Ths most common impacts of seismic exploration in the Cooper Basin can include; disrupted visual amenity; damage to native flora; impacts on fauna; soil compaction; deviations of natural water courses; disturbance to heritage sites and; erosion. The visual impact of newly prepared 3D seismic lines is the prime concern raised by a range of stakeholders.

The South Australian government has responded to these concerns by undertaking a further program of research to investigate the visual recovery rates of seismic lines in various land systems through the South Australian section of the Cooper Basin.

Download PDF 73.6 Mb