An application for an Exploration Licence can be lodged at any time over any area of the state which is not in a Competitive Tender Region.  Applications for areas falling within Competitive Tender Regions require the Minister to call for tenders specifying a specific closing date and time.

As of 10 November 2022, there are currently five Competitive Tender Regions within South Australia; the Arckaringa, Arrowie, Cooper, Otway and Polda Basins.  These Competitive Tender Regions apply to all three categories of exploration licences under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000; petroleum, geothermal and gas storage.

Explorers and geophysical companies (service companies) have the option to nominate release areas where there is vacant acreage in these regions.

Map showing South Australia Competitive Tender Regions

More than one Exploration Licence or Production Licence can be granted over the same area provided the rights to explore for a particular regulated resource for each licence differs.

Some areas are alienated from exploration and subsequent production operations (e.g. some protected areas under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972).

An application can be made by an individual or a company or a combination of individuals or companies.  Where a foreign company makes application for, and is granted a licence under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000, such company may be subject to the requirements of the Corporations Act 2001.

Further information in relation to the requirements for foreign companies carrying on business in Australia can be found on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) website.

All applications are regarded as confidential, however certain information of an application (other than details of the financial and technical abilities of the applicant or any interpretive data) may be made public.

Competing applications in response to a call for bids by the Minister are assessed having regard to the most effective proposed work program providing the financial and technical abilities of the applicants are satisfactory.

How to Apply

The following excerpts from the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Regulations 2013 set out the specific requirements which must be addressed in any application for an exploration licence under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000:

Part 2 - Licence Applications
4 - General Requirements
An application for a licence, or for the renewal of a licence, under the Act:—
(a) must be addressed to the Minister1; and 
(b) must be signed or executed by the applicant; and 
(c) must include, or be accompanied by, the following information or material (in addition to the material required by the Act): 
 (i) the full name, business address and telephone number of the applicant; 
 (ii) the name and telephone number of a person who can be contacted about the application; 
 (iii) a description of the area or route to which the application relates, using co-ordinates in a form determined or approved by the Minister and, if available, cadastral boundaries2
 (iv) in the case of an application for a licence —a map indicating the area or route to which the application relates and, in the case of an application for a pipeline licence, indicating significant topographical, environmental and cultural features; 
 (v) information on the size of the area or length of the route to which the application relates, expressed in square kilometres or kilometres (as appropriate); 
 (vi) in the case of an application for a licence;— 
 (A) in the case of an incorporated body —a copy of the body's most recent audited annual financial statements;
  (B) in any other case —statements that demonstrate the expected financial position of the applicant over the anticipated term of the licence (or a shorter term determined by the Minister); 
 (vii) in the case of an application for a licence —a statement of the technical qualifications and experience of the applicant; 
 (viii) in the case of an application for a licence —if the application is being made by more than one person —information on the interest that each person will have in the licence (which may be expressed as a percentage). 
6 —Exploration licences
An application for an exploration licence, or for the renewal of an exploration licence, must also include, or be accompanied by, the following information or material: 
(a) the proposed work program3 and information as to the approximate cost of operations to be carried out under the program in each year of the licence; and 
(b) a technical report that assesses the prospectivity of the area and how the proposed work program relates to this prospectivity; and 

if applications have been invited by public advertisement —a statement that addresses the stated criteria.


1.Applications should be addressed to:

Minister for Energy and Mining
C/- The Executive Director
Energy Resources Division
Department for Energy and Mining
GPO Box 320
2.All coordinate descriptions are to be expressed in degrees of longitude and lattitude, GDA 2020.
3.An exploration licence is granted for a term of five years (including rights of renewal pursuant to provisions under the Act), and any proposed work program should as a minimum include the drilling of one well targeting the regulated resource for which the exploration licence relates.

Payment of regulated fees

Regulated fee and royalty payments can be made by cheque made payable to Department for Energy and Mining, or by direct bank transfer to:

BankCommonwealth Bank of Australia
100 King William Street
Adelaide SA 5000
Account NameDepartment for Energy and Mining Collections
Account Number10022561

Please forward remittance advice to:
Fax(08) 8124 9804
ABN83 768 683 934

For more information, contact: