Expiry of offshore petroleum titles

All fact sheets should be read in conjunction with the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (the Act), associated regulations, relevant guidelines and policies (available on this website).

This fact sheet provides general information about the process for expiry of petroleum titles.

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

Overview

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

Generally the expiry date is specified in the title instrument, but that date may be extended if, for example, the titleholders have applied for:

  • a suspension of conditions and the decision of the Joint Authority (JA) is still pending (s 265 and s 265A)
  • renewal of the title (s 119, s 153 or s 184).

See also the Annual Titles Administration Levy—remittals and refunds policy (in relation to the annual levy).

Prior to expiry

Titleholders may wish to advise NOPTA in advance if they intend to let a title expire.

Prior to expiry, 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 Act and regulations have been complied with, including the submission of all reports and data due and completion of any decommissioning obligations
  • any direction(s) given by the responsible Commonwealth Minister, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority 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 conduct a compliance check of the title. If any of the matters set out above remain outstanding NOPTA will contact the titleholders.

Communication of expiry

After expiry, NOPTA will communicate the expiry by:

  • writing to the titleholders advising that the title has expired
  • publicise the expiry of the title by publishing a notice in the Australian Government Gazette (s 708)
  • entering it in the Register of Titles (s 471) and on the NEATS website.

Important note: the permit, lease or licence ceases to be in force on the expiry date (s10 of the Act), not the date on which the notice of the expiry is gazetted or communicated.

Non-compliance with work program commitments

Titleholders who are at risk of defaulting on a condition of their title, including work program commitments where applicable, should consider their options to apply to vary, suspend (and extend) or be exempted from a condition of the title (s 264 and s265).

Good Standing Agreements (work-bid exploration permits only)

Refer to s 4 of the Offshore Petroleum Exploration Guideline: Work-bid for further information.

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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