Areas are available for application for a Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL), Geothermal Exploration Licence (GEL) or Gas Storage Exploration Licence (GSEL) where no licence currently exists for the relevant regulated resource.

An application for an Exploration Licence can be lodged at any time over any area of the state, which is not in a Competitive Tender Region. Applications for Competitive Tender Regions require the Minister to call for tenders nominating a specific closing date. A six-month lead-time usually applies.

More than one Exploration Licence or Production Licence can be granted over the same area provided the rights to explore for or produce a particular regulated resource for each licence differs. Some areas are alienated from exploration and production operations (e.g. some protected areas under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972). An application should be made in accordance with legislative requirements and be accompanied by the prescribed fee.

The Minister retains the discretion to reject any application that is inadequate in the context of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000. The Exploration Licence is then awarded to the applicant judged to have bid the best work program provided the application is adequate in the context of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000. Other areas may from time to time be similarly promoted after the Department for Energy and Mining has undertaken new work which has improved the prospectivity of the area.

The compulsory relinquishment for an exploration licence is either 331/3% or 50% (as determined by the Minister) of the original licence area and occurs upon renewal of the 5 year term of the licence. An exploration licence granted as a Petroleum Exploration Licence under the repealed Petroleum Act 1940 or an application for an Exploration Licence before 1 March 1999 will upon renewal be subject to a compulsory relinquishment of a minimum 25% of the original licence area.

The Earth Resources Information Sheet P1 (PDF 3.52 MB)
Provides details of Holders of Petroleum and Geothermal licences in South Australia

Current Acreage Releases

Results of the 2019 Cooper and Otway Basins Acreage Release

On 30 June 2020, the Minister for Energy and Mining announced the details of successful bids in the 2019 petroleum exploration acreage release in the Cooper and Otway Basins. Please see the link below:

Successful applicants for Petroleum Exploration Acreage in Cooper and Otway Basins announced

At the close of bidding on 29 November 2019, 11 bids were received from nine companies for the eight blocks offered, including two joint ventures comprising two companies each. Bids were received for all five Cooper Basin Blocks, and one of the three Otway Basin Blocks - OT2019-B. No bids were received for the other two Otway Basin blocks.

Successful Cooper and Otway basin bidders were selected on the basis of the total five-year work program bid together with the adequacy of financial resources and technical expertise to satisfactorily undertake the proposed work program.

The following is a summary of the successful applicants and proposed work programs:

Block/Company Total Value ($) Guaranteed Work ($) Total Wells Guaranteed Wells Total 3D Seismic (km2) Guaranteed 3D Seismic (km2) Total 2D Seismic (km) Guaranteed 2D Seismic (km)
Leigh Creek Energy Limited
8,700,000 8,150,000 2 2 150 150 150 150
Leigh Creek Energy Limited
9,350,000 8,800,000 3 3 150 150   
Cordillo Energy Pty Ltd
9,450,000 9,450,000 2 2 250 250   
Gidgee Energy Pty Ltd
26,450,000 23,450,000 8 7 0 0   
Vintage Energy Ltd
16,145,000 7,905,000 4 2 200 100   
Adelaide Energy Pty Ltd and Somerton Energy Pty Ltd
4,300,000 1,300,000 0 0 0 0 500 0

For more information, contact: