Declaration of Reservation of Blocks
On 8 October 2021, via Government Gazette, the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (the Department) under delegation from the Minister for Mines and Petroleum, pursuant to section 28(1a) of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967, declared a number of graticular blocks shall not be the subject of a geothermal exploration permit, geothermal drilling reservation, geothermal retention lease, geothermal production license, geothermal special prospecting authority or geothermal access authority.
The reservation of those blocks is to remain in effect until 3 October 2023, unless otherwise varied or revoked.
On 18 January 2022, via Government Gazette, the Department, pursuant to section 5(8) of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967 varied the reservation of blocks to accommodate the Geothermal Acreage Release 1 of 2022.
Release of Acreage for exploration
For State areas under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967 or Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1982, the Department identifies precise geothermal exploration acreage permit configurations and releases them for competitive bids, inviting applications. These are known as ‘acreage releases’ and are generally made yearly for areas within Western Australia’s jurisdiction.
State releases are formalised by way of publication in the Western Australia Government Gazette.
Details of Acreage releases can be found at Prospectivity and Acreage releases.
Acreage Option for Special Prospecting Authorities
In addition to the Acreage Release process, under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967 or Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1982, explorers may apply for a Geothermal Special Prospecting Authority with Acreage Option
A Geothermal Special Prospecting Authority is an up to six months, non-renewable title granted to conduct a geothermal energy resource exploration survey. A geothermal well is not permitted under this Authority. On expiry of Authority proponents have a further six months to take up the Acreage Option and apply for either a Geothermal Exploration Permit or Geothermal Drilling Reservation. It is important that the Acreage Option forms part of the Authority application as it cannot be applied for retrospectively.
To ensure an application is not rejected, it is essential the applicant reviews block availability first to ensure the proposed application blocks have not been reserved pursuant to section 28 (1a) of the PGERA, prior to making application for a Geothermal Special Prospecting Authority.
Please contact the Petroleum Titles team for further information firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farm-in to existing titles
Interests in geothermal titles can be bought and sold, while farm-in/farm-outs occur.
When buying into a title, farminees/transferees need to demonstrate their financial and technical ability to assume the responsibilities of the acquired interest. A transfer of a Geothermal Title must relate to the whole of the interest in the title and not merely the interest being dealt with.
Once a geothermal energy resource discovery is made, the Geothermal Exploration Permit holder has the right to convert that discovery to a Geothermal Production Licence. Should the discovery be demonstrated as presently non-commercial but likely to become so within 15 years, called an interim title, a Geothermal Retention Lease may be granted.