This page belongs to: 2022 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release

Important information for applicants

Work program bidding for the 2022 acreage release closes at 4:00 pm on Thursday 2 March 2023.

You must consider all matters below before submitting your work-bid.

See the Australian Government gazette notice inviting applications for the 2022 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage release.

Permit guideline

Read the guideline for offshore work-bid offshore petroleum exploration permits.

Consultation comments

You should review the 2022 Offshore Petroleum Exploration 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 getting any relevant Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approvals.

You must submit evidence of FIRB approval with your application. You can submit evidence of FIRB approval after your application if the approval was pending when you applied. 

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

See guidance on foreign investment for mining on the FIRB website. Send general questions to firbenquiries@treasury.gov.au.

Other marine users

Petroleum exploration 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 starting activities.

Marine environment

Some of the release areas overlap Australian marine parks, biologically important areas and key ecological features. For more information see:

Find information on national heritage values in the Australian Heritage Database.. These values are protected as matters of national environmental significance under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Decommissioning

Decommissioning refers to:

  • plugging and permanently closing off well
  • safe removal of equipment, infrastructure and property
  • restoration of the environment.  

It is the default requirement that titleholders remove all petroleum equipment and plug and abandon wells in a safe and timely manner once they are no longer in use and not expected to be used again. You must seek approval from National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) for alternate arrangements, including leaving items in situ.

See the offshore petroleum decommissioning guideline on NOPTA’s website for information about decommissioning obligations.

NOPSEMA has published information on its decommissioning strategy and operational policies.

Trailing liability

Trailing liability refers to the power for a titleholder, former titleholder or a ‘related person’ to be called back (through a remedial direction) to undertake decommissioning and remediation activities. For more information, see the trailing liability guideline.

Underwater cultural heritage

We recommend you consult heritage@awe.gov.au if you are planning to undertake works in Australian offshore waters.

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water administers the Underwater Cultural Heritage Act 2018 (UCH Act). The UCH Act requirements are separate to the EPBC Act requirements. NOPSEMA does not administer UCH Act requirements.

Defence

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.

Contact

Email petroleum.exploration@industry.gov.au.