Fact sheet—Locations

Part 2.2 of Division 6 of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGSA) is titled ‘Locations’, however the administration of a declared location is dealt with throughout the OPGGSA in Parts 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4. To effectively manage location you need to consider all relevant provisions in these Parts.

The following information is provided as a general reference and must be read in conjunction with the OPGGSA.

Titleholders with declared locations should ensure they are aware of the relevant legislation and take it into consideration when making commercial decisions.

What is a location?

A location provides the mechanism for transition from an exploration permit to a production licence or a retention lease following the discovery of petroleum. Generally the blocks that cover a discovery are nominated by the permittee, however the Joint Authority may require the permittee to nominate a block or blocks as a location.

A nomination of a block or blocks may only be made if petroleum has been recovered from the pool or pools nominated. The recovery of petroleum may be within the permit area held by the permittee, in an adjoining title held by the permittee to which the petroleum pool or pools extends, or in an adjoining area held by a different titleholder into which the pool or pools extend.

Where two or more pools are identified, one nomination may be lodged over all of the blocks which cover the petroleum pools provided those blocks immediately adjoin each other.

Is a location a petroleum title?

A location is not a petroleum title, and can only exist within an active exploration permit. The nomination of a block or blocks for a declaration of location does not extend the term of an exploration permit. At the time of making the lease or licence application, the block or blocks must be covered by an active exploration permit and a current location.

The blocks which have been declared a location remain as part of the exploration permit and will still be subject to the minimum work requirements.

How long does a location last?

Following the declaration of a location, the permittee may apply for a production licence or a retention lease, or to revoke the location, within two (2) years of the location being declared. This is the ‘application period’.

The application period may be extended for up to a further two (2) years at the discretion of the Titles Administration on application in writing prior to the end of the first two (2) year period.

Can a location be changed?

Prior to the expiration of the application period the Joint Authority may vary or revoke the block or blocks that constitute a location at the permittee's request.

If a declaration of a location is revoked by the Joint Authority prior to the expiration of the application period, the declaration of location no longer exists, and the block or blocks which constituted that location will revert back to forming part of the underlying exploration permit area.

For a variation request, the underlying exploration permit must still be in force when the request is made and a reasonable time should remain in the permit term to allow the Joint Authority to make a decision on the request prior to the permit expiry.
The Joint Authority may vary a declaration of a location at its discretion, and subject to consultation with the permittee.

What happens if the application period expires before I do anything?

In general where an exploration permittee takes no action in relation to a location prior to the expiration of the application period the blocks will revert to vacant acreage, and no longer form part of the permit area.

Where unsure permittees with locations should engage with NOPTA early leaving a reasonable time to allow the Joint Authority, or NOPTA, to make a decision prior to the expiration of the application period, if required.

Figure1—Location decision diagram

Figure 1 - Location decision diagram

Note: In order request any of the above actions the underlying exploration permit must remain in force and in some cases the application period and exploration permit must be in force until the decision is made.

How do I apply for a nomination of blocks for a declaration of location, or a variation or revocation of location?

Application forms can be found on the Forms webpage.

What do I need to include with my application?

  1. Application fee (declaration of location only)
  2. The supporting information specified on the application form.

More information

The timeframes relating to locations may be critical, it is important that titleholders are aware of all the dates relevant to their location and engage with NOPTA early if you have any questions.

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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