Petroleum titles on private land

The administration of the petroleum industry in Western Australia is based on a titles system which provides security for exploration companies and landholders in areas where exploration takes place.

Release of land for petroleum exploration

Petroleum exploration well on private land (Photo courtesy of DMP Petroleum Division)
Petroleum exploration well on private land (Photo courtesy of DMIRS Petroleum Division)

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) consults with Federal, State and Local Governments for their views on proposed land release areas for petroleum exploration. These comments are taken into account in determining and managing the proposed release areas.

Access to private land and compensation

Following the grant of a petroleum title by DMIRS, the title holder is required to negotiate an access agreement with the private landholder. This includes compensation for any negative impacts on the owner’s use of the land. Compensation can also apply to nearby properties. Petroleum activities cannot commence until compensation agreements have been signed.

A petroleum title holder must obtain written consent from private landowners or trustees to access land that is:

  • private land not exceeding 2000 square metres;
  • used as a cemetery or burial place; or
  • less than 150 metres in distance from any cemetery, burial place, or reservoir or substantial improvements.

Access to leases and compensation

Drilling Rig (Photo courtesy of Empire Oil and Gas NL)
Drilling Rig (Photo courtesy of Empire Oil and Gas NL)

DMIRS requires petroleum title holders to notify lessees in writing of its proposed activities for the use of the land so access arrangements can be agreed upon.

Lessees of pastoral leases, grazing leases, timber leases and leases for the use and benefit of Aboriginal inhabitants are entitled to compensation for any damage to improvements caused by petroleum activities.

If agreement cannot be reached

If compensation cannot be agreed to within three months of the written notice, either party may apply to a Magistrates Court to set the amount of compensation.

Key facts

  • Exploration and development of petroleum resources is based on a title system, under which petroleum title holders must notify landowners and lessees in writing of their proposed activities.
  • Work cannot begin until petroleum companies have negotiated compensation agreements with the landowners or lessees.
  • Petroleum title holders must consult with people living on the land for access arrangements.
  • Private landowners and lessees are entitled to compensation from the petroleum title holder.

For more information check out other information sheets in this series by visiting Native Title and Land Access (NTALA) or Telephone (08) 9222 3333

Key steps in accessing private land or leases