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Petroleum minimum standards

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The Petroleum Minimum Standards and Merit Assessment Procedure sets the NSW Government’s framework for determining applications to grant, renew, transfer and assess active petroleum prospecting titles.

Download a full version of Minimum Standards and Merit Assessment Procedure (PDF, 478.12 KB)  published on September 2015.

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The NSW Gas Plan is the government's public statement of intent to deliver a high performing petroleum industry, with reasonable and consistent regulation that is rigorously enforced.

Through the NSW Gas Plan, the government is committed to implementing and enforcing a 'Use It or Lose It' policy. The policy requires title holders to commit to developing the state's resources or risk losing their prospecting title. If a serious commitment cannot be demonstrated at application, transfer, upon renewal or during the term of a prospecting title, companies may face refusal or cancellation of their titles.

As part of the Mining, Exploration and Geoscience (MEG)'s compliance processes, where there is evidence of non-performance or non-compliance with minimum standards without satisfactory justification, these will be considerations to determine if a prospecting title should be cancelled or not renewed. These matters, in addition to an applicant's corporate, compliance and environmental performance history will also be considered when assessing applications for the grant, renewal and transfer of titles.

A title holder must take all lawful actions to remedy any force majeure (unforeseeable circumstance or similar) event or effect that may hinder the ability of a title holder to comply with the requirements of, and standards set out in, this policy. The onus is on a title holder to demonstrate any and all actions taken in this respect.

Consistent with the NSW Resource Regulator's Compliance and Enforcement Approach, any actions to refuse or cancel a prospecting title will be proportionate to the non-compliance identified and the seriousness of any non-compliance.

New prospecting title applications that include National Parks, nature reserves and other areas excluded by legislation will not be accepted and will be returned to the applicant.

The new Petroleum prospecting minimum standards (PDF, 160.91 KB) will apply to all petroleum titles granted or renewed from February 2023 and detail the mandatory criteria required to be satisfied to meet the minimum standards for petroleum titles and how MEG will apply them.