Offshore Petroleum Development

The role of the Department in relation to the development offshore oil and gas resources is to increase investment in petroleum development in offshore areas under Commonwealth jurisdiction. This is achieved through best-practice policy development, implementation and administration.

Substantial investment is required to develop Australia's offshore petroleum resources, located mainly off the north-west and south-east coasts. These resources benefit the community through:

  • energy supply for transport, domestic and industrial uses
  • taxation revenues
  • employment
  • exports
  • regional development
  • downstream processing
  • enhanced energy security.

Offshore petroleum development is undertaken by industry in accordance with laws and policies which are administered by a branch of the department’s Resources Division, the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA) branch, and developed in partnership with the department’s Offshore Resources Branch.

Decisions on the award of titles and a range of other issues relevant to offshore petroleum industry operating in Commonwealth offshore areas are made by the Joint Authority. The Joint Authority consists of the responsible Commonwealth Minister and the relevant state or territory minister.

NOPTA Branch administers titles, undertakes data and resource management, and provides technical advice to the Joint Authority. The Titles Administrator is a statutory position within the Australian Public Service (NOPTA is not an independent agency).

Related pages

  • Offshore petroleum titles
    In Australia, offshore exploration and development is regulated by a title system. Petroleum activities can only occur if a company holds a valid title, which in itself provides holders with an exclusive right to apply for further approvals to conduct safe petroleum operations in the area. The Commonwealth offshore petroleum titles regime consists of petroleum exploration permits, petroleum retention leases and petroleum production, infrastructure and pipeline licences along with a number of consents and authorities to undertake specific activities.
  • Offshore South East Australia Future Gas Supply Study
    The Department is undertaking a study of the Gippsland, Otway, Bass and Sorell Basins to look into the prospects for future supplies of gas to supply the South East Australia domestic gas market. Technical aspects of the Study will be led by the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator in close consultation with Geoscience Australia and the Victorian Government. The study will focus on developing a better understanding of the volumes of gas available in this highly productive area, and will also seek to identify opportunities to maximise sustainable gas recovery.

More information

For more information about offshore petroleum development, contact the Manager Petroleum Development by phone (02 6276 1000), or by email, or see the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA) website.

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