Section 65(1a) of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 provides that person(s) or enterprise(s) may lodge an over-the-counter application for an exploration licence which overlaps an area of an existing exploration licence application. In such circumstances, the earlier application will rank ahead of any later overlapping application(s), and the Department would usually seek to have the first ranked applicant expedite steps enabling the grant of the licence as a precedent to the offer of a licence.
Where a first ranked applicant does not make bona fide efforts to progress their application in a timely manner, the first ranked application may be refused, and the second ranked application would assume primacy. This will not jeopardise first ranked or successive applications associated with 'good faith' efforts to conclude Native Title land access agreements.
Note: Where an application is refused, the unsuccessful applicant may request the Minister to call for tenders for the relevant area.