Offshore greenhouse gas storage acreage release process

The Australian Government releases offshore areas for greenhouse gas storage (also known as carbon capture and storage). Companies can apply for a greenhouse gas storage assessment permit over an area of interest.

Companies seeking opportunities to reduce emissions should consider participating in the offshore greenhouse gas storage acreage release.

Acreage release process overview

  • Companies nominate areas

    Companies nominate areas offshore that they have an interest in exploring for greenhouse gas storage potential.

  • Public consultation

    The Responsible Commonwealth Minister (RCM) for offshore greenhouse gas storage considers a range of factors before progressing an area to public consultation.

  • Areas released for bidding

    The RCM considers all consultation comments before endorsing a release area for the bidding round.

  • Companies submit bids

    The RCM invites work program bidding on release areas. Bids are then submitted.

  • NOPTA assesses applications

    NOPTA assesses applications and provides technical advice to the RCM to inform a decision by the RCM to offer new permits to successful bidders.

  • Permits offered to successful bidders

    NOPTA offers the successful bidders an offshore greenhouse gas storage assessment permit on behalf of the RCM.

  • Exploration activities can begin

    Following a decision to offer permits, successful bidders can accept the offer and subsequently be granted a new title.  Greenhouse gas storage exploration activities can begin once the necessary additional approvals have been sought, for example, environment plans.

Nominating areas for future exploration

You can nominate areas for future acreage releases using the online form on business.gov.au.

As a guide:

  • Your nomination must indicate:
    • a strong interest in exploring the area
    • that you will be bidding in the next scheduled acreage release.
  • You must include details about any potential sources of greenhouse gas for storage purposes.
  • You must nominate areas separately if they do not share a border.

Nominations are not restricted to vacant petroleum acreage. Your nomination can include graticular blocks that:

  • overlap active petroleum titles
  • cross offshore state boundaries (but do not enter state waters within 3 nautical miles from the shoreline).

You must provide reasons for nominating an area.

Greenhouse gas storage formations

Nominations must include any identified storage prospects.

The entire proposed storage formation needs to fall wholly within the nominated area. This is in line with the legislative definition of a greenhouse gas storage formation. Greenhouse gas storage formations that are partially outside an active greenhouse gas title cannot be declared under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (the Act).

Considering area nominations

The responsible Commonwealth Minister (RCM) for offshore greenhouse gas storage considers a range of factors when agreeing to progress areas to public consultation. These include:

  • national security and maritime boundaries
  • environmental regulations
  • commercial interest
  • proximity to markets and supporting infrastructure
  • social licence to operate
  • other marine users and offshore titleholders
  • the source of greenhouse gas
  • integrity and storage potential of the proposed storage formation
  • strategic priorities of the government.

We also consult with:

  • state and territory governments
  • other Australian Government agencies.

Consultation on release areas

The government undertakes consultation before releasing nomination areas for bidding.

We seek feedback from anyone who:

  • has an interest in a specific release area
  • can provide information relevant to potential storage formation exploration and appraisal in that area.

This includes:

  • government agencies
  • conservation groups
  • native title holders
  • First Nations peoples
  • the Australian public
  • other marine users, like the following industries:
    • petroleum
    • fishing
    • aquaculture
    • transport
    • tourism.

Subscribe to the Australian Resource News for upcoming consultations.

The RCM for offshore greenhouse gas storage must consider all submissions received and endorse release areas before they can progress to the bidding rounds. An area will not be included in the release if any issues cannot be managed through regulatory approvals.

2023 offshore greenhouse gas storage nominated areas

We sought comments on potential release areas and how exploration activities may impact people and the environment. Read public submissions.

Bidding for exploration permits

The RCM will invite companies to bid on release areas. The Australian Government Gazette publishes available bidding areas and due dates.

2021 offshore greenhouse gas storage acreage release

There are 5 acreage release areas available for bidding to explore for offshore greenhouse gas storage and injection locations. This publication provides all the maps, diagrams and geological information about the r...

Planning your work bid

When planning your work bid, you may want to:

Applying as a foreign investor

If you’re a foreign investor, you should familiarise yourself with Australia’s foreign investment framework. Failure to comply with the law may result in penalties.

You’re responsible for obtaining any relevant Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approvals.

You must submit evidence of your FIRB approval with your application to NOPTA. If your FIRB approval is pending, provide evidence of this to NOPTA with your application.

NOPTA will not offer greenhouse gas storage assessment permits until they receive the required FIRB approvals.

See requirements for foreign investment in mining on the FIRB website.

Email general enquiries to firbenquiries@treasury.gov.au.

Meeting exploration and development requirements

NOPTA assesses bids against:

NOPTA provides technical advice to the RCM to help them decide which bids are successful.

NOPTA offers successful bidders an offshore greenhouse gas assessment permit on behalf of the RCM. Successful bidders can renew their 6-year title for 2 further periods of 3 years each.

Data and maps to support nominations and bidding

You can find data and maps to support your nominations and bidding:

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