Legislation & Compliance

Onshore petroleum, geothermal and gas storage exploration and development are administered by the Department of State Development, Energy Resources Division under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 (opens in new window) and associated Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Regulations 2013 (opens in a new window).

The Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 was proclaimed on 1 October 2009, to replace the repealed Petroleum Act 2000. The Petroleum Act 2000 was proclaimed on 25 September 2000, to replace the Petroleum Act 1940.

The main features of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act are:

  • establishment of a co-regulatory regime focusing on achievement of environmental, public safety and resource management objectives, and reduced compliance costs (this is strongly supported by both industry and community interest groups)
  • licence allocation and management mechanisms to facilitate competition in line with competition policy principles
  • rights of third party access to licensed pipelines (where not covered by the national access regime), to depleted reservoirs (for gas storage purposes), and to pipeline easements
  • greater security of tenure for licences through improved registration procedures
  • public consultation processes with regard to establishment of environmental objectives and for significant proposed activities (consistent with provisions of the Development Act 1993)
  • reduced risk to government for liabilities arising from the activities of the industry
  • a fee structure designed to encourage the industry to adopt management systems to undertake activities
  • inclusion of an effective and expeditious regulatory and approvals framework applicable to geothermal and gas storage activities.

Since August 2004, over the counter applications for geothermal exploration licences (GELs) can be accepted over the entire state, except over current GELs or lands excluded for exploration (e.g. certain parks).

The Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act embraces six key principles of certainty, openness, transparency, flexibility, practicality and efficiency. More details about these principles and the main features are given in the summary of the Act

Part 12 of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act provides for requirements to protect the environment from potential and adverse impacts related to petroleum activities. This includes the need for licensees to prepare a Statement of Environmental Objectives (SEO), based on an Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

More information about environmental requirements and copies of company SEOs and EIRs are included in the Environment and Land Access part of the website.

The Energy Resources Division produce annual reports of statewide compliance with the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000.