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COVID-19 Updates for resources sector: fee relief | To report a serious incident to DEM, as required by Section 85(2) of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000, licensees should contact the serious incident reporting hotline on: (08) 8463 6666. For more information please visit the Compliance and Monitoring webpage | DEM-ERD has just released the first “Basin in a Box” data-package covering the Simpson and Pedirka Basins. The dataset is available via the “Data and Publications” page. Each package is a consolidated set of seismic and well data to facilitate new ventures and exploration assessments of frontier basins in South Australia. Data releases for other frontier basins will follow. | Changes to data submission requirements during COVID-19 restrictions. For further information see here.

The Energy Resources Division provides policy documents and guidelines to assist companies in understanding processes and requirements to ensure compliance with the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000


In line with the regulatory philosophy of the Energy Resources Division and endeavours to work with licensees where possible to remain in the preventive sphere of the ERD compliance and enforcement pyramid, Energy Resources Division provides legislation and compliance related policy documents which clarify the Energy Resources Division’s approach in administering and enforcing the compliance aspects of the PGE Act, and further direction through the guidance documents on criteria used to assess compliance, ERD expectations of activities and the content of reports, or the manner and form required for licensee submissions to meet legislative requirements.

The adopted approach to compliance with the PGE Act is based on the concept that the responsibility for detecting and rectifying non-compliance lies with the licensee or individual. The policies and guidelines are provided in line with the preventive measure of educating and working collaboratively with licensees, industry and stakeholders to clarify and advise on regulatory requirements and expectations.

Changes to data submission requirements during COVID-19 restrictions

Revisions to the deadlines for the submission of most petroleum-related data and reports out to (at least) 31st May, due to restrictions associated with the management of COVID-19

The Energy Resources Division and the Department for Energy and Mining acknowledge and appreciate the steps that companies are taking to protect their employees in the current climate. We also recognise the difficulties that these steps are likely to create, in terms of meeting various obligations associated with the mandatory delivery of petroleum-related data and reports for ongoing and recently-completed operations. For example, staff working from home may not have the ability to burn CDs, courier collections are more complicated and deliveries to DEM will become impractical as DEM looks to transition to interim working arrangements. Therefore, any data submissions on physical media which have not yet been dispatched should be retained by the operator and treated as per the guidelines below.

To facilitate data management and data delivery in this environment, the Energy Resources Division is implementing the following guidelines and changes with immediate effect:

  1. All daily reports (e.g. Daily Operations Reports / Daily Geological Reports etc.) which are currently submitted by e-mail should continue to be sent to ERD as normal
  2. The standard deadlines for the submission of all other petroleum-related data and reports (such as well logs, well completion reports etc.) are waived. All data or reports that have not already been dispatched and are due for delivery to ERD on or before 31st May should be retained by the operator until that date, and then submitted to ERD as soon as reasonably practicable. All such delayed submissions will be deemed to be fully compliant with obligations under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act. This deadline will be reviewed again in mid-May, and may be extended further if significant COVID-19-related restrictions are still in operation.
  3. Operators should initiate and maintain a spreadsheet detailing data and reports that are ready for submission but have been retained by the operator under the above guidelines. Once completed, an initial version of this sheet should be submitted via e-mail to An updated version of the spreadsheet should be submitted to the same e-mail address when any significant updates are made to the spreadsheet (e.g. a new well).
  4. ERD is continuing its review and QC of data and reports that have already been submitted, and will continue to communicate with operators as appropriate
    • If a requirement for minor changes is identified (such as modifications to one or two figures or the addition / revision of small amounts of text), DEM will notify the operator and will endeavour (wherever possible) to work collaboratively with them to close out any required updates. For example, operators could submit the revised figures or text via e-mail and DEM staff can then modify the document, obtain operator endorsement of those corrections and close out the approvals. This approach allows us to keep approvals and sign-offs moving through the system.
    • If major changes are required, these will be communicated to the operator via e-mail but resubmission of the data or report will not be required until 31st May, as per the guidelines above

For clarity, these temporary changes relate to geoscience-focussed data and reports; they do not alter the existing requirements and timeframes for submission of documentation (e.g. activity notifications, incident reports, EIR/SEO information, production and well test data, downhole diagrams etc.) to Engineering Operations ( The requirements for the submission of Annual Reports, PACE Gas Reports etc. to the Licencing Branch ( also remain unchanged.

If you have any questions about these guidelines, please contact Iain Campbell at or Alan Sansome at


Onshore exploration and production is administered under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 and the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Regulations 2013.

The area to which this Act applies covers all of onshore South Australia exclusive of Commonwealth lands. It extends south to the State territorial sea baseline and includes the waters of Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent.

Onshore exploration guidelines

Onshore production guidelines

Licensing and activity approvals under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 (PGE Act) and the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Regulations 2013 (regulations) consists of three stages, Licensing, Environmental assessment and approval of environmental objectives, and activity notification and approval.

There are differences between the processes for exploration, retention, production and associated activities; and the pipeline activities which include transmission pipeline projects.

The steps involved in these two categories of approvals processes are detailed in the following two flow-charts:

Licensing and Approvals Process for Exploration, Retention and Production Activities in South Australia Licensing and Approvals Process for Transmission Pipeline Projects Activities in South Australia
BROCH098 cover image BROCH102 cover image
Download the Licensing and Approvals Process for Exploration, Retention and Production Activities Guideline (PDF 93KB) Download the Licensing and Approvals Process for Transmission Pipelines Guidlines (PDF 254KB)

RB200500005 cover imageIn South Australia, any pipeline proponent proposing to construct and operate transmission pipelines and associated facilities is required to seek a Preliminary Survey License to conduct surveys to establish likely routes, and to perform initial geotechnical, ecological and heritage surveys to confirm the suitability of the pipeline alignment. The guidelines for pipeline licensing and approvals in South Australia (PDF 1.45MB) details the requirements associated with such activities.

In addition, the SEA Gas' brochure on how pipeline construction and operation might impact upon the landowner (PDF 1.93MB) details the potential impacts as a result of the construction and operation of the Naracoorte lateral pipeline. Whilst not developed by the Energy Resources Division (ERD), SEA Gas provided this booklet to landowners with the notice of entry as per Part 10 of the then Petroleum Act 2000. ERD suggests that licensees consider a similar approach for new pipeline projects.

PGRG004 cover image The criteria for classifying the level of environmental impact of regulated activities (PDF 232KB)  outlines the criteria and framework upon which the level of impact of a regulated activity will be assessed and subsequently classified. Guidelines for the application of these criteria are also included.


Activity notifications for all activities whether classified as requiring high or low level official surveillance, are required to include or be accompanied by information and material specific to the proposed activity pursuant to various sections of the PGE Act and associated regulations. ERD have provided guidance on the requirements for activity notifications in the activity application assessment checklist (DOC 165KB).

Regulation 19 requires an activity notification for high-level official surveillance activities to be provided to the Minister at least 35 days before the proposed commencement of regulated activities. One of the items of information that this notice must include, or be accompanied by, is detailed information on the licensee’s proposals in respect of the operator assessment factors.

PGRG009 cover imageThe operator assessment factor reporting guidelines for high-level official surveillance activity notifications (PDF 1.9MB) provides guidance to licensees on how these requirements can be met and aids ERD in reviewing and validating the submitted report.


Section 74 of the PGE Act requires a licence to include mandatory conditions dividing the regulated activities to be carried out under the licences into those requiring high-level official surveillance or those requiring low-level official surveillance. The Minister may change the classification of activities if the licensee has satisfied the Minster that, in view of the licensee’s demonstrated competency to comply with the requirements of this Act, the activities should be classified as requiring low-level official surveillance. The operator assessment factors, detailed in regulation 16, are relevant to determining whether a licensee can be classified as a licensee who is carrying out activities requiring low-level official surveillance.

PGRG010 cover imageThe guidelines on criteria used to classify level of licensee surveillance required (PDF 1.67MB) outlines the criteria that will be used to assess a licensee’s operator assessment factors for the purpose of section 74 and subregulation 17(1), as required by subregulation 17(2).


PGRG007 cover imageThe process safety management framework for assessing compliance (PDF 1.43MB) outlines the philosophy adopted by ERD regarding its assessments of submissions made under relevant requirements of the PGE Act and regulations. In particular, regulations 16 (operator assessment factors), 30 (fitness-for-purpose assessments) and 32 (incident reports).


PGRG008 cover imageSection 86A of the PGE Act requires the licensees of a prescribed licence to carry out a fitness-for-purpose (FFP) assessment of their facilities within the area of that licence to assess the risks imposed by the facilities on public health and safety, the environment and the security of production or supply of natural gas (so far as this may be relevant). Section 86A(4) requires the licensee to prepare a report on the FFP assessment of facilities in a manner and form determined by the Minister. The fitness-for-purpose assessment reporting guidelines (PDF 262KB) outline the manner and form required, and provides guidance to licensees on how the requirements of the regulations can be met.

PGRG006 cover image Petroleum and Geothermal Energy exploration and production activities are licensed and regulated in South Australia under the PGE Act and associated regulations. The Department for Energy and Mining, Energy Resources Division administers the PGE Act on the behalf of the Minister for Energy and Mining.

The incident reporting guidance note (PDF 3.5MB) provides information for PGE Act licensees and the community on the licensees’ legislative requirements for reporting incidents that occur in the course of carrying out regulated activities under the PGE Act.


Principles for engagement cover imageThe principles for engagement with communities and stakeholders (PDF 484KB) provides information for effective liaison between the resources sector, the community and stakeholders. It is intended as a guide for anyone associated with the exploration and development of mineral, coal, oil and gas resources. Genuine engagement with stakeholders is essential for promoting and achieving sustainable development.


RB201700035 cover imageThe Aboriginal heritage guidelines for resource projects in South Australia (PDF 5.7MB) sets out the responsibilities required of mineral and energy resource companies operating in South Australia to protect Aboriginal heritage.


ISP08 cover imageThe field guide for environmental assessment of abandoned seismic lines in the Cooper Basin (PDF 2.1MB) sets out the goal attainment scaling (GAS) scoring criteria for seismic lines on abandonment.


ISP06 cover imageThe field guide for environmental assessment of abandoned well sites in the Cooper Basin (PDF 4.9MB) sets out the GAS scoring criteria for wellsites on abandonment.


Well naming

The naming of wells must conform to conventions agreed by the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) and Geoscience Australia in 1996. The guideline for naming of wells under Regulation 25 details these conventions.

Location surveys

Under Regulation 26 of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Regulations 2013, well location surveys must be submitted to the Energy Resources Division. The guideline for well location survey under Regulation 26 includes information about accuracy requirements, who should perform the survey and what type of information needs to be submitted.

Well completion reports

Under Regulation 40 of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Regulations 2013, a well completion report must be submitted within six months after rig release.

Guideline for petroleum well completion reports
Guideline for geothermal well completion reports

Well evaluation programs

The guideline for well evaluation programs outlines the well logging and sample programs for infill and development wells, and for exploration wells.

Well abandonment

When abandoning wells the Statement of Environmental Objectives (SEO) must be complied with. The Cooper Basin well abandonment SEO checker (XLS 141KB) provides a guide to compliance.

Under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 (the Act) licence holders are required to submit various data and reports to the Energy Resources Division (ERD). Guidelines are provided to ensure that data and reports comply with the requirements under the Act.

In addition to the guidelines provided here, liaison between company staff and ERD personnel is encouraged to facilitate effective and efficient information submission.

Geological and engineering data

The approved form of digital data submissions (PDF 66KB) provides the requirements for the submission of text-based reports of any kind (e.g. well completion reports, environmental impact reports). This guideline covers text, format, plans, figures, plates, images, file name conventions, photographs, tabular data, wireline logs (plot files and digital data) and daily drilling reports.


Geophysical data

Regulation 37 of the Act requires the holder of a petroleum licence to submit to ERD geophysical data collected during exploration and development activities. This includes all field recordings and supporting documentation necessary to allow future explorers to reprocess the original data and all processed data, which should allow future explorers to reinterpret the original data.

PGRG002 cover imageGuidelines for submission of geophysical data (PDF 2.17MB) provides information on the preparation and submission of basic geophysical data appropriate to petroleum licences within South Australia.

In addition to the submission of geophysical data, licensees are required to submit a geophysical report. The submission of any geophysical data should coincide with the submission of the geophysical operations report which discusses the acquisition of the data.

Geophysical reports

Regulations 34, 35 and 36 of the Act requires that the following reports are submitted to the Minister:

- Geophysical progress reports;
- Geophysical operations reports; and
- Geophysical interpretation reports

Such reports must be submitted in both hardcopy and digital form.

PGRG003 cover imageGuidelines for the preparation and submission of geophysical reports (PDF 2.29MB) outlines what is expected to be included in a geophysical report in order to meet the requirements of the above mentioned regulations.


The company Annual Report template (DOC 138KB) has been provided by the Energy Resources Division to assist companies in the preparation of annual reports.

Two checklists are available for download providing a guide to preparing such reports. They are based on Regulation 33 of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000.

Annual Report review checklist (DOC 153KB)

Annual Report checklist - Pipeline Licences only (DOC 161KB)

More information on Annual Reports

Exploration companies in South Australia are required by law to provide representative samples of any core and/or cuttings taken during tenure.

The core and cuttings submission form (PDF 146KB) includes information on specifications for containers and labelling requirements, and must be forwarded to the Energy Resources Division when submitting samples.

All petroleum core and cuttings submission must adhere to the sampling restrictions guideline (PDF 150KB).

All open-file drillhole samples held by the Energy Resources Division Core Storage Facility are available for inspection on completion of the request to inspect drillhole samples (PDF 628KB) form.

Guidelines for calculation and payment of petroleum royalties on the sale of petroleum recovered onshore and offshore in South Australia.

Guidelines for payment of royalty and provision of information

Policy Documents

As of 30 March 2018, a 10-year moratorium on fracture stimulation (also known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking) for the production of gas has been introduced in the Limestone Coast region of South East South Australia.

More information on the moratorium

RB201800008 cover imageThe Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act compliance (PDF 9.8MB) policy will be pursued to ensure compliance with various key requirements of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000, the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Regulations 2013, licence conditions and Statements of Environmental Objectives.


The security lodgement policy outlines the amount of security lodgement required as a deposit against the potential failure to meet obligations arising under a licence.

The Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) bid assessment policy outlines the methodology to be used for bid assessments and work program valuations.

PEL licence renewal will be considered a right earned by licensees who fulfil the initial five year work program. The Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) renewals policy outlines requirements that need to be met for licence renewal.

PELs may be suspended with the agreement of the licensee and the Department for Energy and Mining. The Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) suspensions document outlines the circumstances under which suspensions may be agreed.

The Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) variations policy outlines the circumstances under which variations to work programs might be agreed by the Department for Energy and Mining.

ERD_infopolicyThe Department for Energy and Mining (DEM) Energy Resources Division (ERD) in administration of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 (PGE Act) is guided by the principles of certainty, openness, transparency, flexibility, practicality and efficiency. In keeping with these principles, ERD makes information available relating to its activities, and the performance of licensees undertaking regulated activities under the PGE Act. There are also legislative requirements under the PGE Act for certain information to be published on online registers.

The Information Release Policy outlines the information that is required to be made available, or may be made available with the approval of the Minister for Energy and Mining, under the PGE Act and Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Regulations 2013 (PGE Regulations). This information is either published on the Public Register (Licence Register), the Environmental Register or in another manner as required under the PGE Act and associated PGE Regulations.


For more information, contact:

Energy Resources Division
+61 8 8429 2559