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