Activity Approval Process

The relevant Regulations pertinent to current and new licensees in South Australia, with respect to activity notifications and information provision requirements for DSD approval are detailed under Regulations 16, 18, 19 and 20 in the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Regulations 2000. The key aspects of these information requirements are highlighted below; however it is recommended that licensees consult with DSD throughout the approval process for further advice and guidance.

The steps involved in the three stages of: Licensing; Environmental Assessment and Approval of Environmental Objectives;and Activity Notification and Approvals are detailed in the following flow-charts:

Guide to the licensing and approvals process for exploration, retention, production and associated activities.

Guide to the licensing and approvals process for transmission pipeline projects.

Activity Notification Requirements

High Level Surveillance Operators (Regulations 16,19 and 20)

An activity notification pursuant to the requirements stipulated under Regulation 19 for all high surveillance activities must be provided to DSD at least 35 days before the proposed commencement date of the activity in question. Activity specific guidelines for the requirements of an activity notification are available. Information and material specific to the proposed activity pursuant to various sections of the Act and Regulations must accompany the activity notification, as described in the Activity Notification Checklist (.DOC).

Of particular note, with respect to environmental reporting obligations, is the requirement under Regulation 20(1)(g) which requires an assessment to be provided by the licensee as to whether the proposed activity is covered by an existing and approved Statement of Environmental Objectives (SEO) detailing how the licensee will ensure that the proposed activity will satisfy the SEO requirements.

Low Level Surveillance Operators (Regulations 18 and 20)

An activity notification for a low surveillance operator must, pursuant to the requirements of Regulation 18, be submitted to DSD at least 21 days before the proposed commencement date of the activity.  As long as no landowner objections are received by the Minister, and the application is compliant, activities can commence at the end of the 21 day period.

Pipeline Activity Notification Requirements

To clarify expectations DSD has developed guidelines for high and low level surveillance pipeline/flowline activities to help licencees demonstrate compliance with the Act for these activities.

Requirements for Pipeline/Flowline Activities - High Level Surveillance (.PDF)

Requirements for Pipeline/Flowline Activities - Low Level Surveillance (.PDF)

Other Requirements

Statement of Environmental Objectives (SEO)

SEO’s may be applicable to a single operation or to a defined region. For example, regional SEO’s have been developed for various Basins in South Australia for the following activities: geophysical activitiesdrilling and well operations; and production and processing activities. In the case where it is found that the proposed activity is not covered by an existing SEO the licensee will be required to develop a new SEO pursuant to the requirements under Part 12 of the Act and undergo the approval process as per the requirements of Part 12 of the Act.  Departmental experience has shown that the process can take 3 months or more depending on the level of impact of the activity, and stakeholder consultation requirements.

Stakeholder Consultation and Notification Requirements

In addition to the stakeholder consultation requirements in the preparation and approval of the SEO, licensees are obliged under Part 10 of the Act to give notices of entry to all landowners 21 days prior to entering and commencing any activity on any land. Pursuant to the requirements of the Regulation 22 the notice of entry must contain:

  • a detailed description of what will be undertaken
  • sufficient information to enable the landowner to reach an informed decision about the impacts and potential impacts the activities will or may have on the land
  • sufficient information on the use and/or consequential loss of use of the land by the landowner resulting from the activities.

Furthermore, Part 10 of the Act provides landowners with the right to object entry within 14 days and to seek any compensation for loss of use or damage or potential loss of use or damage to the land.

A notice of entry template is available to assist in preparing such a notice in accordance with Regulation 22.

An example of an information booklet forming part of a notice of entry is the Landowner Information Brochure: Information on how Pipeline Construction and Operation might impact upon the Landowner: Naracoorte Lateral (.PDF) 1.93MB.  This booklet, provided by SEA Gas to landowners with the notice of entry on land, details the potential impacts on landowners as a result of the construction and operation of the Naracoorte lateral pipeline.

In the case of some of the more sensitive land systems such as those within Regional Reserves, to facilitate communication with the landowner more effectively, in this case the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, DSD (formerly DMITRE and PIRSA) has established an Administrative Arrangement. This arrangement aims to facilitate the exchange of information both from the licensee and from DSD with respect to its approval and surveillance of the proposed activities.

Enforcement of Compliance

The DSD Energy Resources Division (formerly Petroleum & Geothermal Group) developed a Compliance Policy relating to the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000, which is grounded on the principle of an enforcement pyramid. Enforcement action taken by DSD depends on the seriousness and repetitiveness of the offence(s), in accordance with the policy. For further information on this policy refer to Compliance & Enforcement.

Related Links

Environmental Regulation

Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000

Operator Assessment

Activity Notification Checklist (.DOC)

Environmental Register - Statements of Environmental Objectives (SEOs)

Landowner Information Booklet (.PDF) 1.93MB

Administrative Arrangement between PIRSA and DENR (formerly DEH and now DEWNR)  (.PDF - 342 KB)

Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act Compliance Policy (.PDF - 278 KB)