Skip to content

COVID-19 Updates for resources sector: fee relief | To report a serious incident to DEM, as required by Section 85(2) of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000, licensees should contact the serious incident reporting hotline on: (08) 8463 6666. For more information please visit the Compliance and Monitoring webpage | DEM-ERD has just released the first “Basin in a Box” data-package covering the Simpson and Pedirka Basins. The dataset is available via the “Data and Publications” page. Each package is a consolidated set of seismic and well data to facilitate new ventures and exploration assessments of frontier basins in South Australia. Data releases for other frontier basins will follow. | Changes to data submission requirements during COVID-19 restrictions. For further information see here.

Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 Onshore Exploration Guideline


Onshore Exploration

Act Reference
Title of licencePetroleum Exploration Licence (PEL), Geothermal Exploration Licence (GEL) or Gas Storage Exploration Licence (GSEL). 
Who can applyAn individual,a body corporate (i.e. a company) or an unincorporated association of persons and bodies corporate (i.e. a joint venture involving several persons and/or companies). A foreign corporation application must be registered under the provisions of the Corporations Act 2001 
When application can be made

Initial licence at any time over an area which is not in a competitive tender region, otherwise by the closing time and date specified.

Renewal of licence not less than 2 months before existing licence is due to expire.



Maximum areaPEL - 10,000 km2, GEL - 3,000 km2 or GSEL - 2,500 km2s.24(2)

Application fee(Exempt from GST)

For initial application - $4,755

For each renewal - $2,378



SecuritySpecified in a letter of offer. 
Term of licence

Initial term of 5 years.

Each renewal (to a maximum of 2 x 5) years.



Annual fees payable(Exempt from GST)

Initial 5-year licence term - *minimum $4,022 or $1.55 per km2 whichever is greater.

First renewal (2nd 5-year licence term) where licence is renewable for one further term) - *minimum $4,022 or $2.25 per km2 whichever is the greater.

First renewal (2nd 5-year licence term) where licence is renewable for two further terms) - *minimum $4,022 or $1.90 per km2 whichever is the greater.

Second renewal (3rd 5-year licence term) - *minimum $4,022 or $3.60 per km2 whichever is greater.

Minimum work commitmentsAs negotiated with applicant after application (which must contain a proposed 5-year work program) has been received.s.25
Area to be relinquished on each renewal50% or 33.3% of original licence area; this is in addition to any areas voluntarily surrendered during each 5-year licence term.s.26(3)

Fees for Minister's consent to dealing

(Exempt from GST)

$2,378 per transaction (document)s.114

Fee for inspection of Commercial Register(Exempt from GST)

Method of application

An application for a exploration Licence:

a) must be addressed to the Minister; and
b) must be signed or executed by the applicant; and
c) must include, or be accompanied by, the following information material (in addition to the material required by the Act):

  1. The full name, business address and telephone number of the address applicant;
  2. The name and telephone number of a person who can be contacted about the application;
  3. A description of the area to which the application relates, using co-ordinates in a form determined or approved by the Minister, and, if available, cadastral boundaries;
  4. A map indicating the area or route to which the application relates;
  5. Information on the size of the area to which the application relates, expressed in square kilometres;
  6. In the case of an incorporated body a copy of the body's most recent audited annual financial statements, or 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);
  7. A statement of the technical qualifications and experience of the applicant;
  8. 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);
  9. Must be accompanied by the prescribed fee.
Penalty for non-payment of annual rental feesAll fees are payable in advance. Fees not paid by the due date may attract a fine of the greater of either $1,000 or 10% of the outstanding fee. In addition, interest on any outstanding amount will accrue at the rate of 6% per annum.s.78(2)

Licence variations(Exempt from GST)

On application by the licensee, the Minister may at any time during the term of the licence, vary or revoke a condition of the licence or attach new conditions to the licence. Fee $2,378.s.25(4)
Environmental conditionsAs set out in the regulations and licence documentation, any special conditions will be outlined in the letter of offer attached to the licence. 
Surrenders (partial or whole of licence)

The Act requires the licensee to apply to the Minister for permission to surrender.

Surrender is only permitted if the licensee has fulfilled all the terms and conditions of the licence up to and including the year in which the application to surrender is lodged. Licensees are required to lodge all outstanding data on their licences and carry out the clean-up and rehabilitation of their licence areas (where necessary) as a condition of surrender.

Surrenders are effective from the end of the appropriate year of the term of the licence (unless specified otherwise).

Required notice for approval to undertake work in licence areaThree months notice is required to arrange necessary clearances with other government agencies. This is carried out by the Department for Energy and Mining on the behalf of the licensee. 
Required notice for approval to landholdersA licensee must, at least twenty one days before entering the land, give written notice to the occupier of the land.s.61

Gazettals occur on:

a) grant of lease
b) surrender of licence
c) suspension of licence
d) cancellation of licence
e) deferment, variation or reduction of a work program where a licence was granted on the basis of competitive tender.



Suspension and cancellation  The Act provides for suspension and/or cancellation for failure to comply with licence conditions. s.91 
Call for tenders 

The Minister must call for tenders:

a) within a competitive tender region
b) where a person has unsuccessfully applied to an exploration licence (but not in response to a call for tenders) asks the Minister to call for tenders for the relevant area.

Criteria Criteria to be considered for the grant of a PEL, GEL or GSEL s.23

Fees current as at 1 July 2020

* The annual licence fee for a low level supervision operator may be reduced by an amount not exceeding 50%.