Expiry of offshore petroleum titles

This factsheet provides general information about the process for surrendering offshore petroleum titles. This information should be read in conjunction with the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGSA), associated regulations and relevant guidelines which are available on this website.

Note: for information about the expiry of special prospecting authorities or access authorities, please contact NOPTA.

General

The expiry date of a petroleum exploration permit, retention lease or production licence is the day on which it ceases to be in force (section 10).

The day that a title ceases to be in force will generally be the expiry date specified in the title instrument, but that date may be extended if, for example, the titleholder has applied for a suspension of conditions and a decision from the Joint Authority (JA) is still pending (sections 265 and 265A) or has applied for renewal of the title (sections 119, 153 or 184).

Expiry process

Titleholders are not required to take any action if they intend to allow the title to expire, but may wish to advise NOPTA in advance of that intention.

Prior to the expiry of the title, titleholders should ensure that:

  • all conditions of the title, including any work program commitments, have been met
  • all relevant provisions of chapters 2, 4, 6 and part 7.1 of the OPGGSA and the regulations have been complied with, including the submission of all reports and data due
  • any direction(s) given by the responsible Commonwealth Minister, NOPSEMA or the JA have been complied with
  • all applicable fees, royalties and the annual titles administration levy have been paid, or appropriate arrangements for payment have been made to the satisfaction of NOPTA.

NOPTA will undertake a compliance check of the title. If any of the matters set out above remain outstanding NOPTA will contact the titleholder.

After expiry NOPTA will:

  • issue a formal notice of expiry in the Australian Government Gazette (section 708)
  • make an entry on the Register of Titles regarding the expiry of the title (section 471)
  • advise the titleholder in writing that the title has expired.

Non-compliance with title conditions

If a title is at risk of expiring without all title conditions being met, the titleholder should consider its options to apply to suspend, or be exempted from, a condition of the title under section 264 of the OPGGSA.

For work-bid exploration permittees, expiry of the permit without work program conditions being satisfied will result in the titleholder company (including parent company where applicable) and its directors being considered as ‘not in good standing’ with the JA for a period of five years, unless a Good Standing Agreement is in place.

Good standing agreements (work-bid exploration permits only)

Please refer to Section 4 of the Offshore petroleum exploration guideline: Work-bid for further information on the potential implications of a cancellation decision on a work bid exploration permittee’s good standing with the JA, including eligibility criteria for entering into a Good Standing Agreement with the JA.

See also the Fact sheet—Good standing agreement: Regional studies

More information

If you have any questions regarding the expiry of petroleum titles, please contact titles@nopta.gov.au.

Please note: this fact sheet is intended as a guide only and should not be relied on as legal advice or regarded as a substitute for legal advice in individual cases.

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