Department of Mines and Energy
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The Petroleum Act is the principal legislation dealing with petroleum tenure, exploration and production activities onshore and inland waters of the Territory while the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act (NT) caters for tenure, exploration and production activities in the 3 nautical mile strip of NT coastal waters.

Exploration activities include airborne gravity and magnetic surveys, ground-based seismic surveys and well drilling. Production may involve further well drilling and establishment of gathering systems and production facilities. Management of resources, well integrity and the environment to best practices is an integral part of administering these activities. 

Applications for onshore and inland waters tenure are invited under Section 16(1) of the Petroleum Act for the grant of exploration permits.

Consideration of an application for the grant of an exploration permit shall take into account the adequacy of the work programs relative to the whole of the area applied for, the applicant's technical and financial ability to undertake the work, and the geological rationale on which the application is based.

Applicants should make themselves aware of the existence of any areas which have the potential to restrict exploration activities such as reserves declared under the Petroleum Act and the requirements to comply with the terms of the Aboriginal Land Rights (NT) Act and the Native Title Act

Note also that special conditions apply to applications over parks and reserves declared under the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act or the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act.

Applications for tenure in coastal waters are invited under Section 21 of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act (NT) for the grant of an exploration permit for petroleum.