Environment & Land Access

In the context of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000, the term environment is used to cover the natural, social, heritage and economic aspects of the environment.

Environmental Issues

Environmental regulation is in place to ensure that activities involving petroleum exploration and production are properly managed to reduce environmental damage.

Environmental compliance documents for petroleum activities include:

These documents are publicly available on the Environmental Register.

More advanced searching capabilities to the compliance documents can be found in the Environmental Document Database Search System which opens in a new browser window.

Research Projects contains reports on environmental studies promoted or conducted by the Petroleum & Geothermal Group.


Land Access

Whilst the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 enables petroleum companies to access land for exploration and production purposes, it also recognises the rights of landholders. There are clear obligations for explorers to notify and consult with landholders and provide sufficient information to enable them to make an informed decision about the impact or potential impact of the proposed operation on the land.

The Liaison Guidelines for Landholders and Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Explorers in South Australia, is a guide to establishing and maintaining good relations between the petroleum industry and land owners, occupiers and titleholders.

Some areas of South Australia are protected land (ie land proclaimed or reserved for conservation purposes). Approx 78% of onshore protected areas allow access for petroleum exploration and development under proclamation.

Aboriginal land accounts for 19% of the land of South Australia. Penalties exist for damage to Aboriginal cultural and archaeological sites and licence holders are encouraged to liaise with Aboriginal people to assist with the protection of Aborginal heritage and related matters.

Each application for a Petroleum Exploration Licence requires a separate Native Title Agreement.

The Land access milestone for SA's petroleum industry (.PDF 453KB) is Australia's first such agreement covering a proven petroleum producing region. The Agreement covers petroleum exploration and production in much of the Cooper Basin and manifests trust in the processes that protect Native Title and enable upstream petroleum operations in South Australia.