This page belongs to: 2021 offshore greenhouse gas storage acreage release

Key information for applicants

You must consider all matters below before submitting your work-bid greenhouse gas assessment permit application.

You also need to read the Australian Government gazette notice inviting applications for the 2021 GHG acreage release.

Permit guideline

We have developed a new guideline for offshore work-bid greenhouse gas assessment permits.

The new guideline consolidates the 3 previous guidelines and addresses amendments to the legislation. It explains the application and assessment process for the 2021 Offshore Greenhouse Gas Storage Acreage Release.

Consultation comments

We advise you to review the 2021 Offshore Greenhouse Gas Storage Acreage Release public consultation comments on release areas.

Foreign investors

You should be familiar with Australia’s foreign investment framework if you are a foreign investor. Failure to comply with the law may result in penalties.

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

You are to submit evidence of a FIRB approval with the application. If FIRB approval is pending, you can provide evidence after the submission.

NOPTA will not offer an exploration permit until it has received the required FIRB approvals.

See guidance on foreign investment for mining on the FIRB website. Send general enquiries to

Other marine users

Offshore greenhouse gas storage activities must not interfere with:

  • navigation
  • fishing
  • conservation of the resources of the sea and seabed
  • enjoyment of native title rights and interests (within the meaning of the Native Title Act 1993)

Titleholders are to consult with other marine users before commencing activities.

Marine Environment

Some of the release areas overlap Australian Marine Parks, Biologically Important Areas and Key Ecological Features. For more information see:

The Australian Heritage Database provides information on the National Heritage values protected as matters of national environmental significance under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981

The Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981 (the Sea Dumping Act) protects waters surrounding Australia's coastlines from wastes and pollution dumped at sea. The Sea Dumping Act regulates the dumping of controlled waste materials at sea. This includes carbon dioxide (CO2) storage in the sub-seabed. The Sea Dumping Act fulfils Australia's international obligations as a party of the 1996 Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972.

You may need a permit under the Sea Dumping Act to store CO2 in the Australian sub-seabed. We recommend you contact in your project planning to understand your obligations under the Sea Dumping Act.

Read more about sea dumping in Australian waters.

Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH)

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) administers the Underwater Cultural Heritage Act 2018 (UCH Act). The UCH Act requirements are separate to the EPBC Act requirements.

We recommend you consult if you are planning storage assessment in Australian offshore waters.


Areas may coincide with offshore Defence Restricted Areas and restricted airspace. See notice to airmen and notice to mariners for current restrictions.

Unexploded ordnance (UXO) may be present on or in the sea floor. The Department of Defence has identified potential UXO areas in the UXO mapping application.

Titles Administration Act

Amendments to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Titles Administration and Other Measures) Act 2021 (the Titles Administration Act) come into effect from 2 March 2022

We encourage you to review the new Titles Administration Act requirements and prepare your application to meet them. The relevant requirements are:

  • subsections 298(2A) and (2B) (see item 72 of Schedule 3) for decision-making criteria for the grant of a work-bid greenhouse gas (GHG) assessment permit
  • paragraphs 309(2)(c) and (d) and subsections 309(3A) and (4A) (see items 86 to 88 of Schedule 3) for decision-making criteria for the renewal of a GHG assessment permit
  • subsection 310(3A) (see item 89 of Schedule 3) for new decision-making criteria for the refusal to renew a GHG assessment permit
  • subsection 436(2A) (see item 187 of Schedule 3) for new decision-making criteria for the variation or suspension of, or the exemption of compliance from, conditions of a GHG assessment permit, and
  • section 695YB (see item 231 of Schedule 3) for matters that a decision-maker must take into account.

Trailing liability

The Titles Administration Act allows the Australian Government to call back past titleholders for remedial works if issues arise in the area. This is a provision for titles held on or after 1 January 2021.

Storage Formation Integrity

Wells drilled within the title area or surrounding area may affect the integrity of a storage formation. This is regardless of whether they intersect a storage formation or not. This includes any:

  • pre-title petroleum, greenhouse gas storage or stratigraphic wells
  • wells drilled under an active greenhouse gas assessment permit.

You may need to consider the impact of wells on the integrity of the storage formation. Find out how this affects the fundamental suitability determinants of a storage formation under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006.

You may be required to remediate a well to ensure safe injection and permanent storage of CO2 into a storage formation.

Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Environment) Regulations 2009

A ‘greenhouse gas activity’ is defined in the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Environment) Regulations 2009 (Environment Regulations).

‘Seismic or exploratory drilling activity’ is also a term defined in the Environment Regulations, and includes some greenhouse gas activities.

The National Offshore Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) must accept an environment plan (EP) for a greenhouse gas activity before it can begin. EPs for seismic or exploratory drilling activities need a 30 day public comment period before NOPSEMA can start the assessment. It is an offence to undertake an activity before there is an approved EP in force.

See information on environment plans, including assessment policy, content requirements and decision-making on the NOPSEMA website.

The Minister endorsed NOPSEMA’s environmental management authorisations process as a program that meets the requirements of the EPBC Act in February 2014. Greenhouse gas exploration activities can access NOPSEMA’s endorsed environmental management program.

Titleholders for injection and/or greenhouse gas storage activities cannot access the endorsed program. These activities may require other environmental approvals under the EPBC Act further to a NOPSEMA approved EP.

The NOPSEMA website provides more information on the NOPSEMA EPBC Act program. This includes more details on the activities included and excluded from the endorsed program arrangements.

You may also need additional safety and integrity authorisations from NOPSEMA for greenhouse gas activities and associated facilities.

Contact us