Types of petroleum activities

A petroleum company may want to access your land to carry out:

  • preliminary activities
  • regulated operations.
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Preliminary activities are a type of exploration activity. They have no impact, or low impact, on land.

Petroleum activities include:

  • taking:
    • water samples
    • rock samples without using heavy machinery
    • soil samples to a depth of up to four metres
  • carrying out surveys that do not involve:
    • clearing any vegetation
    • permanent installation of any infrastructure or equipment on land
  • driving a vehicle on land, except a heavy vehicle, to carry out preliminary activities.

Preliminary activities don't impact or cause a risk to the environment. They are not a regulated activity under the law.

For a company to carry out regulated operations, it must have an exploration permit, a retention licence or a production licence.

Regulated operations include:

  • aerial surveys
  • ground-based seismic surveys
  • drilling an exploration well
  • drilling a development well to recover petroleum.

These activities require an approved environment management plan from the environment minister.

Carrying out petroleum activities on your land

If a petroleum company wants to carry out an aerial survey or preliminary activities on your land, it must:

  • give you 14 days' written notice and
  • provide information about its intended activities.

If a petroleum company wants to carry out regulated activities on your land, it must:

  • reach a land access agreement with you
  • give you 14 days' written notice and provide details of its intended activities.

Exploration does not guarantee that production will happen. If a company discovers petroleum while carrying out activities, it has a right to convert the discovery into a production licence. This is a separate approval process from an exploration permit being granted

If the production is not commercially viable at the time of discovery, it may be converted to a retention licence.


Last updated: 08 July 2021

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