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Offshore oil and gas exploration

Voices heard at drop-in sessions.

Figure 1 Offshore tenements in South Australia superimposed on a digital terrain model, September 2018.
Figure 1 Offshore tenements in South Australia superimposed on a digital terrain model, September 2018.

Over 150 interested community members attended information sessions about federal and state governments’ roles in regulating offshore oil and gas activities off the South Australian coast. Four sessions were held between 20 to 22 August 2018 at Adelaide, Port Lincoln, Victor Harbor and Kingscote.

The offshore South Australian Bight Basin represents one of the world’s last under-explored petroleum basins with potential for giant petroleum accumulations. Its prospectivity has attracted major oil and gas companies to continue to explore in the region, including Equinor, Murphy, Santos, Karoon Gas, Nippon Oil and Gas, and Bight Petroleum. There are eight current offshore exploration permits for petroleum, all located in Commonwealth waters (Fig. 1).

The sessions provided an opportunity for the public to seek information and raise detailed questions about:

The format of the sessions was conducive to engagement and discussions. (Photo 416723)
The format of the sessions was conducive to engagement and discussions. (Photo 416723)
  • how oil and gas activities are approved
  • offshore areas available for petroleum exploration and production
  • environmental regulation
  • the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority’s (NOPSEMA’s) role as an independent safety and environmental regulator
  • oil pollution emergency planning and government response capability
  • the Australian Marine Park Network
  • resource development in South Australia.

Staff from our department’s Energy Resources Division were on hand, joining representatives from other Commonwealth and South Australian regulatory, environment and planning agencies – Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (Cth); NOPSEMA; National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA); Parks Australia; Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (SA); Department for Environment and Water (SA).

The Facts about offshore exploration

An update of The Facts about offshore oil and gas exploration in South Australia (PDF 3.5 MB) has been published on the Petroleum website. It outlines the 40-year history of offshore exploration in South Australia, as well as clearly setting out the environmental, safety, regulatory and approval processes.

– Elinor Alexander, October 2018

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