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Project summary

Gold Hydrogen propose to explore, appraise and develop natural hydrogen within Petroleum Exploration Licence 687 following historical petroleum exploration drilling that detected high levels of hydrogen.

On 11 February 2021 the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Regulations 2013 were amended to declare hydrogen, hydrogen compounds and by-products from hydrogen production regulated substances under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000. Companies are now able to apply to explore for natural hydrogen via a Petroleum Exploration Licence and the transmission of hydrogen or compounds of hydrogen are now permissible under the transmission pipeline licencing provisions of the PGE Act. The current review of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 proposes it becoming the ‘one stop shop’ for hydrogen with a new name – the Energy Resources Act.

Map of hydrogen licences and applications with basins and underlying petroleum tenements.

Figure 1. Petroleum exploration licences and applications lodged by companies with interest in hydrogen

Potential exists for natural hydrogen plays in South Australia - for more information about the geology of natural hydrogen and exploration history, visit the Hydrogen prospectivity page.

Approval stages

All prospective operators, prior to any on-ground activities, must adhere to the three stage approvals process under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000, which is outlined in the Guide to the licensing and approvals process for exploration, retention and production activities flowchart.

Stage 1 - Licensing - APPROVAL GRANTED
Stage 2 - SEO Approval - NO SUBMISSION AT PRESENT
Stage 3 - Activity Approval - NO SUBMISSIONS AT PRESENT

The Licence Approval process (Stage 1) grants exclusive rights to an area to explore for resources but does not grant rights to undertake on-ground activities.

Gold Hydrogen have been granted Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) 687 to explore areas for hydrogen production on Kangaroo Island and southern Yorke Peninsula.

Further information on the Licensing process is available on the Licence applications page.

All regulated activities conducted under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 (PGE Act) must have an approved Statement of Environmental Objectives (SEO) in place with which they comply, prepared on the basis of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). When the time comes, an EIR and Draft SEO will be developed to cover future proposed Hydrogen Exploration activities within the Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) 687 for assessment by the Department for Energy and Mining (DEM), in close consultation with relevant co-regulatory agencies.

For further information on the approvals process, including relevant stages and consultation requirements, please see Activity approval process.

Should the SEO be approved and gazetted in accordance with Part 12 of the P&GE Act, the licensee has to proceed to the third and final stage of the approval process prior to commencing on-ground activities. This entails submission of an activity notification in accordance with Regulation 18 or 19, and supporting information to satisfy the requirements of Regulation 20.

DEM’s assessment for Stage 3 approval will include consideration of supporting information provided by the licensee to demonstrate that all design, construction and operations relating to this activity are in accordance with recognised industry standards and fit for the purpose for achieving the requirements of the final approved SEO objectives and conditions.

Of particular note, with respect to environmental obligations under Regulation 20(1)(g), an assessment is required to be provided by the licensee determining whether the proposed activity is covered by an existing and approved SEO, in addition to detailing how the licensee will ensure that the proposed activity will comply with the respective SEO requirements.

Further information

Acknowledging that Hydrogen exploration and development is a new activity in the State, the Department wishes to provide further information to the public and anticipated questions have been answered below.

Where is Petroleum Exploration Licence 687?

Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) 687 is located on the majority of Kangaroo Island and the Southern portion of the Yorke Peninsula. You can view the licence documents here. Areas covered by the licence can be seen on Fig. 2 and as an interactive map using the South Australian Resources Information Gateway (SARIG) map browser.

Detailed map of PEL 687

Figure 2. Detailed map of PEL 687.

What information will a company proposing activities near or on my land want?

Through the various stages of activity planning to operations a licensee will seek information from you to better understand your requirements during operations. These range from understanding:

  • Who should be contacted about activities? At what time? How (email, phone call etc)?
  • Where activities can occur? When is a bad time for them to occur (i.e. when does harvest happen, lambing, etc)? How they can comply with biosecurity requirements? How can the property be accessed?
  • What compensation can be fairly provided (what is the crop value, how much land has been impacted, etc)?

The South Australian Chamber of Mines & Energy (SACOME) has prepared the SACOME Land Access Guide 2020 to assist South Australian resource companies undertake land access in a ‘best practice’ manner.

In developing this document, SACOME sought input from the agricultural sector in preparing this guide to better understand landholder concerns and expectations around land access. In doing so, it is hoped to provide explorers with useful advice on how to establish and maintain constructive relationships with landholders.

For further information on expectations of explorers, please see the Exploration Land Access Guide page.

What are my rights as a landholder if the company wishes to undertake activities on my land?

You have a right as a landholder to object to entry within 14 days of receipt of a Notice of Entry (NOE) which will contain a detailed description of activities that enable you to understand the impacts and consequences resulting from the activities.

Licensees are obliged under Part 10 of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 to give notices of entry to all landowners 21 days prior to entering and commencing regulated activity on any land.

For further information on the NOE requirements, please see the Notice of Entry Section of the Approval Process page.

Has any previous petroleum exploration occurred in this area?

Exploration for oil and gas on Yorke Peninsula dates back to the 1930s when entrepreneurial drilling syndicates, often funded by local farmers, drilled wells including the Ramsay Oil syndicate Bore 1. Bona fide oil traces were reported from Minlaton 1 stratigraphic hole drilled in 1956–57.  Beach Petroleum explored the basin in the 1960s with systematic exploration using airborne magnetic and gravity surveys, seismic and drilling.

In 1982–83, Pan Pacific Petroleum acquired 59 km of 24-fold Vibroseis and sampled drillcores for source rock analysis.

The Gravestock 1 exploration well was drilled in February–March 2007 by Austin Exploration in PEL 73. There has been no active exploration since.

On Kangaroo Island, poorly documented prospecting for oil and gas, including drilling some shallow bores, occurred in the 19th century. The American Beach Oil Bore 1 exploration well was drilled in the 1920s, Investigator 1 and 2 stratigraphic research wells were drilled by the Department in the 1990s. No seismic acquisition has occurred on the island.  LK Ward, the government Geologist recorded that American Beach Oil Bore 1 was drilled in 1921 at a location identified by a diviner to test a supposed seepage of oil on the beach at Eastern Cove in June 1920. It is likely that the ‘seepage’ was a natural asphaltite stranding, which occur on Australia’s southern margin including Kangaroo Island, as described in a paper by Hall et al. (2013).

The website has more information on the prospectivity of the Stansbury Basin, which outcrops on Yorke and Fleurieu Peninsulas and Kangaroo Island.

Exploration for hydrogen is likely to follow techniques used previously in parts of Yorke Peninsula to explore for oil and gas. Field sampling and airborne geophysics are proposed and if results are encouraging seismic surveying and drilling may occur. You can view the proposed exploration work program in the  PEL 687 licence document. A map of the Stansbury Basin shows previous drilling and acquisition on Yorke Peninsula.

You can view the latest spatial information and create your own maps using the Department's purpose built spatial system known as SARIG.

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