The adopted approach to compliance with the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 is based on the concept that the responsibility for detecting and rectifying non-compliance lies with the licensee or individual. These guidelines are provided in line with the preventive measure of educating and working collaboratively with licensees, industry and stakeholders to clarify and advise on regulatory requirements and expectations.

Under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 and Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Regulations 2013, Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) and draft Statements of Environmental Objectives (SEOs) classified as relating to medium impact activities must be published for public comment. These EIRs and draft SEOs are published on the Department for Energy and Mining (DEM) website and in state and regional newspapers.

All written submissions made in response to an invitation for public comment will be made available on the Environmental Register on the DEM website, and during office hours at the public office determined by the Minister.

This brochure provides guidance on what to consider when making a public submission and how to protect privacy for personal information such as contact details.

Onshore exploration and production is administered under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 and the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Regulations 2013.

The area to which this Act applies covers all of onshore South Australia exclusive of Commonwealth lands. It extends south to the State territorial sea baseline and includes the waters of Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent.

Onshore exploration guidelines

Onshore production guidelines

Licensing and activity approvals under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 (PGE Act) and the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Regulations 2013 (regulations) consists of three stages:

  • licensing;
  • environmental assessment and approval of environmental objectives; and
  • activity notification and approval.

There are differences between the processes for exploration, retention, production and associated activities; and the pipeline activities which include transmission pipeline projects.

The steps involved in these two categories of approvals processes are detailed in the following two flow-charts:

In South Australia, any pipeline proponent proposing to construct and operate transmission pipelines and associated facilities is required to seek a Preliminary Survey License to conduct surveys to establish likely routes, and to perform initial geotechnical, ecological and heritage surveys to confirm the suitability of the pipeline alignment. The guidelines for pipeline licensing and approvals in South Australia (PDF 1.45MB) details the requirements associated with such activities.

In addition, the SEA Gas' brochure on how pipeline construction and operation might impact upon the landowner (PDF 1.93MB) details the potential impacts as a result of the construction and operation of the Naracoorte lateral pipeline. Whilst not developed by the Energy Resources Division (ERD), SEA Gas provided this booklet to landowners with the notice of entry as per Part 10 of the then Petroleum Act 2000. ERD suggests that licensees consider a similar approach for new pipeline projects.

The criteria for classifying the level of environmental impact of regulated activities (PDF 232KB)  outlines the criteria and framework upon which the level of impact of a regulated activity will be assessed and subsequently classified. Guidelines for the application of these criteria are also included.

Activity notifications for all activities whether classified as requiring high or low level official surveillance, are required to include or be accompanied by information and material specific to the proposed activity pursuant to various sections of the PGE Act and associated regulations. ERD have provided guidance on the requirements for activity notifications in the activity application assessment checklist (DOC 165KB).

Regulation 19 requires an activity notification for high-level official surveillance activities to be provided to the Minister at least 35 days before the proposed commencement of regulated activities. One of the items of information that this notice must include, or be accompanied by, is detailed information on the licensee’s proposals in respect of the operator assessment factors.

The operator assessment factor reporting guidelines for high-level official surveillance activity notifications (PDF 1.9MB) provides guidance to licensees on how these requirements can be met and aids ERD in reviewing and validating the submitted report.


Section 74 of the PGE Act requires a licence to include mandatory conditions dividing the regulated activities to be carried out under the licences into those requiring high-level official surveillance or those requiring low-level official surveillance. The Minister may change the classification of activities if the licensee has satisfied the Minster that, in view of the licensee’s demonstrated competency to comply with the requirements of this Act, the activities should be classified as requiring low-level official surveillance. The operator assessment factors, detailed in regulation 16, are relevant to determining whether a licensee can be classified as a licensee who is carrying out activities requiring low-level official surveillance.

The guidelines on criteria used to classify level of licensee surveillance required (PDF 1.67MB) outlines the criteria that will be used to assess a licensee’s operator assessment factors for the purpose of section 74 and subregulation 17(1), as required by subregulation 17(2).

The process safety management framework for assessing compliance (PDF 1.43MB) outlines the philosophy adopted by ERD regarding its assessments of submissions made under relevant requirements of the PGE Act and regulations. In particular, regulations 16 (operator assessment factors), 30 (fitness-for-purpose assessments) and 32 (incident reports).


Section 86A of the PGE Act requires the licensees of a prescribed licence to carry out a fitness-for-purpose (FFP) assessment of their facilities within the area of that licence to assess the risks imposed by the facilities on public health and safety, the environment and the security of production or supply of natural gas (so far as this may be relevant). Section 86A(4) requires the licensee to prepare a report on the FFP assessment of facilities in a manner and form determined by the Minister. The fitness-for-purpose assessment reporting guidelines (PDF 262KB) outline the manner and form required, and provides guidance to licensees on how the requirements of the regulations can be met

Petroleum and Geothermal Energy exploration and production activities are licensed and regulated in South Australia under the Petroleum and Geothermal Act 2000 (PGE Act) and associated regulations. The Department for Energy and Mining, Energy Resources Division administers the PGE Act on the behalf of the Minister for Energy and Mining.

The incident reporting guidance note (PDF 3.5MB) provides information for PGE Act licensees and the community on the licensees’ legislative requirements for reporting incidents that occur in the course of carrying out regulated activities under the PGE Act.

The principles for engagement with communities and stakeholders (PDF 484KB) provides information for effective liaison between the resources sector, the community and stakeholders. It is intended as a guide for anyone associated with the exploration and development of mineral, coal, oil and gas resources. Genuine engagement with stakeholders is essential for promoting and achieving sustainable development.

The South Australian Chamber of Mines & Energy (SACOME) has prepared the SACOME Land Access Guide 2020 (PDF 746KB) to assist South Australian resources companies undertake land access in a ‘best practice’ manner. This resource provides checklists as a practical guide for use ‘in field’ to assist explorers work through their responsibilities and obligations to landholders; as well as advice on understanding landowner concerns and questions ahead of time to assist in best practice engagement (for more information see the Exploration Land Access Guide page)

The Aboriginal heritage guidelines for resource projects in South Australia (PDF 5.7MB) sets out the responsibilities required of mineral and energy resource companies operating in South Australia to protect Aboriginal heritage.

The field guide for environmental assessment of abandoned seismic lines in the Cooper Basin (PDF 2.1MB) sets out the goal attainment scaling (GAS) scoring criteria for seismic lines on abandonment.

The field guide for environmental assessment of abandoned well sites in the Cooper Basin (PDF 4.9MB) sets out the GAS scoring criteria for wellsites on abandonment.

Well Naming

The naming of wells must conform to conventions agreed by the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) and Geoscience Australia in 1996. The guideline for naming of wells under Regulation 25 details these conventions.


Location Surveys

Under Regulation 26 of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Regulations 2013, well location surveys must be submitted to the Energy Resources Division. The guideline for well location survey under Regulation 26 includes information about accuracy requirements, who should perform the survey and what type of information needs to be submitted.


Well Completion Reports

Under Regulation 40 of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Regulations 2013, a well completion report must be submitted within six months after rig release.

Guideline for petroleum well completion reports
Guideline for geothermal well completion reports


Well evaluation programs

The guideline for well evaluation programs outlines the well logging and sample programs for infill and development wells, and for exploration wells.


Well abandonment

When abandoning wells the Statement of Environmental Objectives (SEO) must be complied with. The Cooper Basin well abandonment SEO checker (XLS 141KB) provides a guide to compliance.

Under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 (the Act) licence holders are required to submit various data and reports to the Energy Resources Division (ERD). Guidelines are provided to ensure that data and reports comply with the requirements under the Act.

In addition to the guidelines provided here, liaison between company staff and ERD personnel is encouraged to facilitate effective and efficient information submission.

Geological and engineering data

The approved form of digital data submissions (PDF 66KB) provides the requirements for the submission of text-based reports of any kind (e.g. well completion reports, environmental impact reports). This guideline covers text, format, plans, figures, plates, images, file name conventions, photographs, tabular data, wireline logs (plot files and digital data) and daily drilling reports.


Geophysical data

Regulation 37 of the Act requires the holder of a petroleum licence to submit to ERD geophysical data collected during exploration and development activities. This includes all field recordings and supporting documentation necessary to allow future explorers to reprocess the original data and all processed data, which should allow future explorers to reinterpret the original data.

Guidelines for submission of geophysical data (PDF 2.17MB) provides information on the preparation and submission of basic geophysical data appropriate to petroleum licences within South Australia.

In addition to the submission of geophysical data, licensees are required to submit a geophysical report. The submission of any geophysical data should coincide with the submission of the geophysical operations report which discusses the acquisition of the data.


Geophysical reports

Regulations 34, 35 and 36 of the Act requires that the following reports are submitted to the Minister:

- Geophysical progress reports;
- Geophysical operations reports; and
- Geophysical interpretation reports

Such reports must be submitted in both hardcopy and digital form.

Guidelines for the preparation and submission of geophysical reports (PDF 2.29MB) outlines what is expected to be included in a geophysical report in order to meet the requirements of the above mentioned regulations.

The Licence Annual Report template (DOC 138KB) has been provided by the Energy Resources Division to assist companies in the preparation of annual reports.

Two checklists are available for download providing a guide to preparing such reports. They are based on Regulation 33 of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000.

More information on Annual Reports

Exploration companies in South Australia are required by law to provide representative samples of any core and/or cuttings taken during tenure.

The core and cuttings submission form (PDF 146KB) includes information on specifications for containers and labelling requirements, and must be forwarded to the Energy Resources Division when submitting samples.

All petroleum core and cuttings submission must adhere to the sampling restrictions guideline (PDF 150KB).

All open-file drillhole samples held by the Energy Resources Division Core Storage Facility are available for inspection on completion of the request to inspect drillhole samples (PDF 628KB) form.

Guidelines for calculation and payment of petroleum royalties on the sale of petroleum recovered onshore and offshore in South Australia.

Guidelines for payment of royalty and provision of information

For more information, contact: