On Friday 4 April 2014, the Queensland Government announced the release of six areas for petroleum and gas exploration through non-cash competitive tender. 

In this Alert, Partner Jonathan Fulcher and Trainee Solicitor Kaitlyn Rafter talk about this new exploration opportunity, which extends to both conventional and unconventional petroleum.

Land release area

The most recent land release area is comprised of more than 16,400 square kilometres of land throughout the state, located in the Carpentaria Basin, Georgina Basin and Eromanga Basin. A map of these six areas can be seen below.

Click here to view image.

Minister for Natural Resources and Mines the Hon Andrew Cripps MP identified that the land contains exploration potential for new discoveries of both conventional and unconventional petroleum resources, as well as possible oil resources.

Non-cash tenders

Non-cash tenders (or “work program based” tenders) means that applicants will be assessed according to their proposed work program and the associated technical and financial capability to meet that work program, rather than required to make a cash bid. In adopting a non-cash tender process, there is greater opportunity for junior explorers to be granted the right to explore for petroleum, based largely on their work program. 

Native title implications

Please note that the land available for tender is less than 90 percent exclusive possession land, and as such, will require future proponents to comply with the native title processes under the Native Title Act 1993 with or before the grant of the authority to prospect. 

The process that the preferred tenderers intend on adopting in order to accord with the native title legislative requirements, that is, either a right to negotiate (RTN) or an indigenous land use agreement (ILUA), must be submitted to the Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRMwithin 20 business days of the date of notification of being a preferred tenderer (Native Title Submission).

The Native Title Submission must comply with the guidelines for RTN submissions for petroleum which require specific criteria to be addressed.

Submission of tenders

Tenders must be submitted to DNRM by 4:30pm on Monday 29 September 2014.

Further details of the land area which has been released can be found here.