Declaration of Reservation of Blocks
On 20 October 2023, 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(1) of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967, declared a number of graticular blocks shall not be the subject of a petroleum exploration permit, petroleum drilling reservation, petroleum retention lease, petroleum production licence, petroleum special prospecting authority or petroleum access authority.
The reservation of those blocks is to remain in effect until 19 October 2025, unless otherwise varied or revoked.
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 of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) identifies precise petroleum 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 Special Prospecting Authority with Acreage Option.
The Acreage Option must be sought in conjunction with the Special Prospecting Authority application and cannot be applied for retrospectively. The purpose of this title is to conduct a geophysical or geochemical survey (or other operational activity other than the making of a well), to identify areas that have the potential for further exploration. Explorers may then exercise the Acreage Option by making an application for an Exploration Permit or Drilling Reservation in respect of the block or those blocks identified as prospective.
The Acreage Option must be exercised by applying for an Exploration Permit or Drilling Reservation within the application period specified in the Special Prospecting Authority with Acreage Option instrument following the maximum six-month term of the Authority.
The Special Prospecting Authority with Acreage Option is intended to encourage exploration in areas where little or no exploration has been undertaken (so called ‘greenfields’ or ‘frontier’ areas) and is not appropriate for actively explored areas. For more information on the Acreage Option for Special Prospecting Authorities (page 82).
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 (1) of the PGERA, prior to making application for a Petroleum Special Prospecting Authority.
Please contact the Petroleum Titles team for further information email@example.com.
Farm-in to existing titles
Interests in petroleum titles can be bought and sold and farm-in/farm-outs are a regular occurrence. All such dealings and transfers need to be approved and registered by the Government and an ad valorem registration fee system applies. For more information about Farm-in to existing titles (page 83).
Once a petroleum discovery is made, exploration title holders have the right to convert that discovery to a Production Licence. Should the discovery be demonstrated as presently non-commercial but likely to become so within 15 years, an interim title called a Retention Lease, may be granted.