The Northern Territory Government has endorsed The Petroleum Regulations 2020, providing clarity for Territory landholders and the petroleum industry.
The Petroleum Regulations 2020 (The Regulations) will strengthen regulation and ensure industry is accountable for its practices, while assisting pastoralists and petroleum companies to reach land access agreements for petroleum activities, including the required protections.
Key matters outlined in the Regulations include:
- Requiring statutory land access agreements to be reached for regulated operations and detailed notices to be issued prior to any airborne surveys and limited preliminary activities;
- Provision of mechanisms to assist parties negotiate a statutory land access agreement including mediation or some other form of alternative dispute resolution; and
- Clarifying minimum protection requirements including the requirement for all statutory land access agreements to contain standard 24 minimum protections specified in the Inquiry which include requirements such as closing gates, ensuring all petroleum company employees receive induction training, minimising disturbance to livestock, giving notice to landholders and managing weeds.
The Regulations were drafted in-line with the Independent Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing and with extensive stakeholder consultation including pastoral leaseholders, petroleum companies as well as peak industry bodies such as The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) and the NT Cattleman’s Association (NTCA).
Following this consultation, the Regulations will deliver clarity for both landholders and the petroleum industry, bringing to fruition 63 of the Hydraulic Fracturing inquiry’s 135 recommendations.
Minister for Mining and Industry, Nicole Manison, said the NT Government is building a productive onshore petroleum industry that protects the NT’s unique environment and delivers local jobs.
“Strengthening regulation will ensure industry is accountable for its practices, water and the environment is safeguarded, community and culture is respected, the benefits and opportunities available to local businesses and communities are maximised, and to ensure planning for future,” Minister Manison said.
“Jobs are critical to Territorians, and a healthy exploration sector can play a key role in supporting our economy.”
Chief Executive Officer of the NTCA, Ashley Manicaros, said the NT will have the strongest land access regulations in the country.
“The pastoral sector and the pastoral estate is fundamental to the Territory’s economic future and these regulations will ensure the $1.2 billion cattle industry can continue to operate and if need be, ensure there is compensation for the disruption to this well-established commodity,” Mr Manicaros said.
APPEA Director Northern Territory, Keld Knudsen, said building and maintaining positive, mutually-beneficial relationships between the industry and other users of the land is essential, especially to ensure the long-term economic benefits of responsible resource development.
“Evidence shows everyone benefits when explorers and pastoralists proactively engage about their activities, identify issues and work together to achieve sustainable solutions.
The Petroleum Regulations 2020 will commence from 1 January 2021.