Report a petroleum discovery

Find out about the reporting requirements for petroleum discovery.

It is considered to be a discovery when:

  • the presence of petroleum in a reservoir (an accumulation) is indicated during drilling
  • and the petroleum is shown to be producible.

You must notify the Northern Territory Government when the petroleum discovered is:

  • part of a new discrete accumulation
  • outside the known limits of an existing pool
  • a previously unknown phase of producible petroleum (such as an oil rim or new gas reservoir) in a known pool.

Read more about what is a petroleum discovery in the guideline for reporting.

Guideline for reporting a petroleum discovery PDF (192.7 KB)
Guideline for reporting a petroleum discovery DOCX (182.0 KB)

The registered holders of any of the following are required to notify the department when petroleum is discovered:

  • exploration permit
  • retention licence
  • production licence.

There are three stages for reporting a petroleum discovery:

  • notification
  • initial report
  • evaluation and estimate of resources report.


Notification of the discovery must be made as soon as possible. The notification must include all of the following:

  • permit/licence in which the discovery was made
  • name of the discovery well
  • data or information used to confirm the discovery.

Initial report

The title holder must submit an initial report within three days of the discovery. The report must include:

  • the information that was in the notification
  • the rate or quantity of production of petroleum and water from the discovery well
  • the determined physical and chemical properties of the petroleum from the discovery well.

Evaluation and estimate of resources report

A report that evaluates the discovery and estimates the petroleum resources must be made within three months of the date of the discovery.

This report must include all of the following:

  • the information in the initial report
  • the location of the petroleum pool
  • the reservoir rock and fluid properties
  • preliminary estimates of the petroleum resources
  • the data, assumptions and methodologies upon which the estimate is based.

Petroleum resource estimates must be reported in accordance with the Society of Petroleum Engineers' (SPE) Petroleum Resources Management System. Find out more on the SPE website.


You must email your notification or report to

For more information you can contact:

Energy Division
Department of Primary Industry and Resources
Phone: 08 8999 5388

Last updated: 03 March 2020

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