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Legislation Review - Petroleum

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Legislation Review - Petroleum

In line with the significant increase in interest in oil and gas exploration in the Northern Territory including new emerging technologies and economic opportunities with unconventional oil and gas exploration and development; the Northern Territory Government engaged an independent expert from the Bond University in Queensland to undertake a review of the Northern Territory onshore petroleum legislation, specifically the capacity of the current legal framework to regulate the development of onshore shale, tight and coal seam gas.

In examining the existing onshore petroleum framework, independent consultations with Aboriginal Land Councils, Government Agencies, NT Cattleman’s Association and environmental organisations were also part of the review process.

Arising from the review were 26 recommendations which indicated that the current legislation although adequate to regulate new technologies, could be improved with more prescriptive regulations.

The 26 recommendations, initial responses and updated progress of each as of December 2014 follows.

“Dr. Tina Hunter’s Recommendations – Updated Progress”.

Concurrently the Government also formed an interagency Petroleum Task Force (PTF) with three main areas for consideration:

  1. Provide short-term regulatory certainly to industry by developing interim regulatory requirements, specifically for the regulation of new technologies to include well integrity, water management controls, and increased transparency of activity reporting; particularly in the case of rapid industry expansion.
  2. Developing a broader regulatory regime to appropriately regulate onshore petroleum activities and a communications strategy by holding public information meetings in conjunction with Industry, Industry Associations and CSIRO independent experts.
  3. Developing energy policy on future merging issues for onshore petroleum exploration.

Through consultation with Industry and other stakeholders, on advice from the PTF the Department of Mines and Energy introduced a number of interim regulatory requirements to apply to all future petroleum activities ensuring the regulation of current petroleum exploration activities meets leading regulatory practices.

The Northern Territory petroleum legislation is now continuing to provide leading practices in regulating petroleum activities as one of the most contemporary legislative regimes in Australia, promoting safe and environmentally appropriate petroleum exploration.

The Northern Territory Government would like thank Dr Tina Hunter for her work in reviewing the Territory petroleum legislation.

Enquiries please contact:

Director of Energy
GPO Box 4550, Darwin NT 0801 
Telephone: 08 89995357 Facsimile: 08 8999 5191
Email: directorenergy@nt.gov.au Web: www.minerals.nt.gov.au