Land tenure and availability

Petroleum reserved blocks

A petroleum reserved block is an area where you can't explore or drill for petroleum resources.

This is further outlined under section nine of the Petroleum Act 1984.

The Northern Territory Government has finalised its reserved block policy following public consultation. Read the reserved block policy PDF, 1785.87 KB .

Reserved blocks in the Northern Territory (NT) are being declared in four stages known as tranches PDF, 79.3 KB .

The Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing determined there are areas in the NT that should be reserved blocks.

These areas include towns, parks, reserves and areas of high ecological value.

To read the report visit the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing website.


Reserved blocks, also known as no-go zones, will be declared over 49% of the NT land mass.

Get a map of all areas identified as reserved blocks PDF, 1962.63 KB .

There are seven reserved block categories.

1. Parks and reserves

All parks and reserves in the NT will be reserved blocks.

Get a map of the parks and reserves to be declared PDF, 3847.43 KB .

2. Towns

All gazetted towns with a two kilometre buffer, the Katherine municipality and the Alice Springs municipality will be declared.

Get a map of the areas to be declared PDF, 1845.97 KB .

Get a map of the Katherine areas to be declared PDF, 645.13 KB .

Get a map of the Alice Springs areas to be declared PDF, 624.72 KB .

Communities on Aboriginal Land Rights Act (ALRA) land will be declared following discussions with the land councils.

3. High conservation value

There are 67 sites of conservation significance in the NT. They protect diversity values including threatened species and wetlands.

All sites of conservation significance will be declared. Get a map of the areas to be declared PDF, 4436.48 KB .

4. Indigenous Protected Areas

These are areas covered by an agreement between traditional owners and the Commonwealth Government to promote biodiversity and cultural resource conservation.

All Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) will be declared. Get a map of the IPAs to be declared PDF, 3840.23 KB .

5. Cultural significance

Areas that are culturally significant can be declared.

Sacred sites are fully protected under existing legislation.

6. High tourism value

Areas of high tourism value often fall into another category.

If an area of high tourism does not fall into another category, the Minister for Resources will consider declaring the area after consulting with the Minister for Tourism.

7. No petroleum potential

Get a map of the areas of no petroleum potential that will be declared PDF, 3749.35 KB .

Reserved blocks will be declared in four tranches.

Review the decision tree PDF, 189.36 KB that was used to determine which tranche an area belongs to.

Tranche one

Tranche one includes areas where there is no granted exploration permit.

Tranche two

Tranche two includes joint managed parks.

These will be declared once the relevant boards of management have been notified.

Tranche two includes 29 parks and reserves.

Tranche three

Tranche three includes areas where there is a granted exploration permit.

The Department of Primary Industry and Resources will negotiate with the permit holders to relinquish those areas.

Tranche four

Tranche four includes areas that are on ALRA land.

These areas will be declared when land councils advise the Minister for Resources that they support the declaration.

Sixty per cent of the area to be declared is on ALRA land.

The areas below have been declared as petroleum reserved blocks in the NT.

  • RB2 West MacDonnell National Park
  • RB4 Town of Katherine
  • RB5 Town of Tennant Creek
  • RB6 Town of Alice Springs
  • RB51 Port of Darwin
  • RB53 Marrakai Dam
  • RB54 Bynoe Harbour
  • RB55 Bradshaw
  • RB56 Greater Darwin
  • RB57 Dulcie Range National Park
  • RB60 Warrai Dam
  • RB66 Elsey National Park
  • RB67 Nitmiluk National Park
  • RB68 Darwin River Dam – Manton Dam Extension.
  • RB69 Watarrka National Park
  • Get a print-friendly version of the reserved blocks map PDF, 687.73 KB .

    You can view current granted petroleum titles and applications for petroleum titles on the STRIKE website.

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Last updated: 18 October 2019


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