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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.

On this page

  • Project Summary
  • Approvals
  • Stage 1 - Licensing
  • Stage 2 - Environmental Assessment and Approval of Environmental Objectives
  • Statement of Environmental Objectives
  • Consultation
  • Assessment Report
  • Stage 3 - Activity Approval

Project Summary

Beach Energy Limited (Beach) holds a number of petroleum exploration, production and retention licences in the onshore Otway Basin in the South East of South Australia, which encompass various assets including the Katnook Gas Plant and associated infrastructure.

The Katnook Gas Plant was initially constructed by Origin Energy Resources Limited and commenced production in 1991. The gas plant supplied gas for over 20 years to industrial customers in the South East region. In 2007, the gas plant and associated infrastructure was sold to Adelaide Energy Proprietary limited. Beach acquired Adelaide Energy in 2011 and subsequently stopped production at the plant due to limited gas supply from the well field.

Beach has recently drilled the Haselgrove-3 ST1 conventional gas exploration well in the Penola region. Drilling of additional wells targeting conventional targets in the region is planned.


All prospective operators, prior to any on-ground activities, must adhere to the three stage approvals process under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000, which is outlined in the Guide to the licensing and approvals process for exploration, retention and production activities flowchart.

Stage 1 - Licensing - APPROVAL GRANTED
Stage 2 - SEO Approval - Gazetted on 18 April 2019 - APPROVAL GRANTED
Stage 3 - Activity Approval - APPROVAL GRANTED

The Licence Approval process (Stage 1) grants exclusive rights to an area to explore for resources but does not grant rights to undertake on-ground activities.

Beach Energy currently hold a number of exploration, retention and production licences within the Otway Basin including Petroleum Production Licences (PPL) 202, 168 and 062 near Penola.

Further information on the Licensing process is available on the License Applications page.

All regulated activities conducted under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 (PGE Act) must have an approved Statement of Environmental Objectives (SEO) in place with which they comply, prepared on the basis of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Beach Energy developed an EIR and Draft SEO to cover current and proposed petroleum production and processing activities within the Otway Basin for assessment by the Department for Energy and Mining (DEM), in close consultation with relevant co-regulatory agencies.

For further information on the approvals process, including relevant stages and consultation requirements, please see Activity Approval Process.

Environmental Impact Report - Beach Energy, Otway Basin Production, March 2019  Statement of Environmental Objectives - Beach Energy, Otway Basin Production, March 2019
Download the Environmental Impact Report (PDF 3.9MB) Download the Statement of Environmental Objectives (PDF 1.0MB)

The Minister for Energy and Mining on 4 April 2019 approved the Beach Energy SEO in accordance with Part 12 of the PGE Act. DEM has developed an assessment report to summarise the main findings in relation to the potential issues and environmental risks associated with the Beach Energy Onshore Otway Basin Petroleum Production Operations and how they will be managed. The source of this information is from that detailed in the submitted EIR and from additional information acquired by the DEM as the lead regulator of this project. All this information along with public submissions and advice from other co-regulatory agencies was utilised to inform the approval process for the SEO under the PGE Act.


If an activity is deemed by the Department for Energy and Mining (DEM) in consultation with relevant co-regulatory agencies, to be of Medium Impact according to the criteria for classifying the level of environmental impact of regulated activities then public comment will be sought on the associated Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and draft Statement of Environmental Objectives (SEO).

DEM on 7 February 2018 invited public comment on the EIR and SEO. The formal public consultation period closed on the 1 February 2019.

A number of issues were raised by internal government and the wider public in a total of 6 submissions, including:

» reporting requirements to the EPA;
» potential impacts to water resources, particular concerns were raised regarding downhole well decommissioning and long term integrity in addition to Produced Formation Water (PFW) Management;
» potential Air Quality impacts to the local environment;
» potential impacts to existing land uses  and third party infrastructure; and
» potential impacts on native vegetation and fauna, with particular focus on native vegetation clearance, fauna impacts and impacts to Matters of National Environmental Significance under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

All submissions received during this process were provided to Beach Energy to adequately address to DEM, and its co-regulators, satisfaction. Beach Energy’s responses to these submissions can be found within Appendix 5 of their EIR document.

Assessment Report

The DEM Energy Resource Division has developed an assessment report to summarise the main findings in relation to the potential issues and environmental risks associated with Beach Energy's Otway Basin petroleum production & processing activities proposal and how they will be managed. The source of this information is from that detailed in the submitted EIR and Draft SEO and from additional information and knowledge acquired by the Energy Resource Division as the lead regulator of this project.

Assessment of Beach Energy's proposed onshore Otway Basin petroleum production & processing activities

Download the Assessment of Beach Energy's proposed onshore Otway Basin petroleum production & processing activities (PDF 4.3MB)

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Whilst approval of the Statement of Environmental Objectives (SEO) was a significant step within the approvals process, this still did not provide rights to Beach Energy to begin on-ground works. To do this, Beach Energy were required to proceed to the third and final approval stage to obtain approval to commence on ground activities. This entailed submission to the Department for Energy and Mining (DEM) for evaluation and approval of all technical and engineering designs relating to this activity to ensure the design and intended construction and monitoring of all surface facilities, pipelines, and wells are in accordance with recognised industry standards and fit for the purpose for achieving the requirements of the final approved SEO and conditions.

This stage 3 approval process included, evaluation and approval of the licensee’s Environmental, Health and Safety Management Systems, monitoring plans, shut down and decommissioning plans, environmental assessments, environmental management plans, rehabilitation plans, cultural heritage assessments and emergency response procedures that are critical to the demonstrable achievement of the SEO. Further information on Stage 3 approvals are provided within the assessment report.

The stage 3 approval process was undertaken in three phases. Each phase for approval, along with the respective decision and date, is provided in the table below.

Phases for ApprovalDecision ReachedDate
First Phase  
Facility Earthworks and Site Office/Amenities InstallationApproved14 May 2019
Second Phase  
Facility ConstructionApproved1 July 2019
Third Phase  
Facility Commissioning and OperationApproved24 January 2020