Oil and Gas News

NT overhauls land access regulations

The Northern Territory Government has announced changes for petroleum activities with new land access laws, enforcing explorers and landholders to reach an agreement before petroleum activities are approved and can start.

The regulations will also provide certainty for all parties and assist pastoralists and petroleum companies to effectively reach land access agreements for petroleum activities.

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration (APPEA) Northern Territory director Keld Knudsen said evidence showed everyone benefits when explorers and pastoralists proactively engage around their activities, identify issues and work together to achieve sustainable solutions.

“Building and maintaining strong and positive relationships between the industry and other users of the land is essential, especially to ensure the long-term economic benefits of responsible resource development,” Knudsen said.

“This is a long-term win for both industries, and for all Territorians generating wider benefits including jobs and royalty revenue.”

Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA) chief executive Ashley Manicaros added that the new requirements lay the foundations for positive outcomes for pastoralists and petroleum explorers.

“The regulations establish a minimum set of standards with which both parties need to negotiate access,” Manicaros said.

“From next year, a land access agreement will need to be in place before access to the land can occur. It is important for both sectors that relationships start the correct way and the regulations establish a framework for that to occur.

Manicaros further highlighted that the cattle industry is worth $1.2 billion and employs 10,000 people directly and indirectly.

“Each cattle station in the Territory is a multi-million dollar enterprise in their own right and as a consequence any disruption or risk has to be mitigated.  These regulations create a mechanism to ensure this occurs.”

The petroleum regulations 2020 will start from January 1, 2021 and include: requirements to notify landholders about preliminary activities and aerial surveys; a land access agreement to be reached before conducting regulated petroleum operations; and how parties can reach an agreement including tools, like mediation, to assist parties.

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