Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 No 84
Current version for 28 November 2014 to date (accessed 20 December 2014 at 03:31)
Part 3Division 1

Division 1 Provisions relating to titles generally

8   Invitation of applications

The Minister may, by notification in the Gazette, invite applications for petroleum titles.

9   Grant of petroleum titles

(1)  The Minister may grant a petroleum title over any onshore area within the State, except:
(a)  an area designated by the Minister, by notification published in the Gazette, as an area in respect of which a petroleum title is not to be granted, or
(b)  an area included in an existing petroleum title held by a person other than the applicant, or
(c)  an area included in another application for a petroleum title:
(i)  that was made before the applicant’s application, and
(ii)  that has not been withdrawn or otherwise finally disposed of.
(2)  A notification under subsection (1) (a) may be varied or rescinded by a subsequent notification.
(3)  A petroleum title may be granted over land of any title or tenure.
(4)  A petroleum title takes effect on the date on which it is signed by the Minister or on a later date specified in the title.
(5)  Notification of the grant of a petroleum title or of a refusal to grant an application is to be published in the Gazette.
(6)  The Minister is to notify the Minister administering the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 of the grant of any petroleum title in relation to land that is a biobank site (within the meaning of Part 7A of that Act).

10   Applications to relate to one area only

An application for a petroleum title must relate to only one area.

11   Making of applications for petroleum titles

An application for a petroleum title must be made in a form approved by the Minister and may be delivered or forwarded by post, facsimile or electronically to the Director-General, or may be made electronically as approved by the Director-General.

12   Fee for processing applications

An application for a petroleum title must be accompanied by the lodgment fee prescribed by the regulations.

13   Applications to be supported by plans

An application for a petroleum title must be accompanied by a map or plan, drawn in accordance with the regulations, on which there is delineated the boundaries of the area to which the title is intended to apply.

14   Applications to be supported by proposed work program

An application for a petroleum title must be accompanied by a proposed work program complying with the regulations and indicating the nature and extent of operations to be carried on under the authority of the title.

15   Applications to be supported by evidence of financial standing

(1)  An application for a petroleum title must be accompanied by evidence of:
(a)  the financial standing of the applicant, and
(b)  the technical qualifications of the applicant and of the applicant’s technical advisers, and
(c)  the ability of the applicant to comply with the provisions of this Act and the regulations relating to the petroleum title for which application is made.
(2)  The applicant, if so requested in writing by the Minister, must furnish such further evidence relating to the matters referred to in subsection (1) as the Minister requires.
(3)  If the applicant fails to furnish such further evidence to the satisfaction of the Minister within 30 days of such a request, the application may be refused.

16, 16A   (Repealed)

17   Form of titles

Every petroleum title is to be in the form approved by the Minister.

18   Title to nominee

(1)  A petroleum title may, at the request in writing of the applicant, be granted to a person nominated by the applicant.
(2)  When such a request is made, a reference in this Act to the applicant for a title includes a reference to the nominee.

19   Renewal of title

(1)  The holder of a petroleum title may apply for renewal of the title by application made within the time prescribed by subsection (2) or (2A).
(2)  The prescribed time in relation to a special prospecting authority or an exploration licence is not earlier than 2 months and not later than 1 month before the authority or licence ceases to have effect.
(2A)  The prescribed time in relation to a petroleum title other than a special prospecting authority or an exploration licence is not earlier than 5 years and not later than 1 year (or, if the term of the title is for 1 year or less, not earlier than 2 months and not later than 1 month) before the title ceases to have effect.
(2B)  After considering an application for renewal of a petroleum title, the Minister:
(a)  may renew the petroleum title, or
(b)  may refuse the application.
(3)  The Minister may refuse to grant a renewal of a title on any ground on which the Minister might have refused to grant the title originally or might have cancelled the title during its term.
(3A)  The Minister may also refuse to grant a renewal of title unless:
(a)  all data and reports due under the regulations have been submitted, and
(b)  all data gathered, and operations carried on, during any period not covered in any such report are made the subject of a full report submitted to the Minister.
(4)  A renewed title may, at the discretion of the Minister, be granted for a shorter term than that of the original title.
(5)  Any requirements (including requirements with respect to fees), prohibitions and restrictions under this Act that relate to titles and applications for titles apply (except to the extent provided by this Act or the regulations) in the same way to renewals and applications for renewal.

19A   Withdrawal of application for grant or renewal of petroleum title

(1)  An application for a petroleum title, or for the renewal of a petroleum title, may be withdrawn by means of a written notice of withdrawal signed by the applicant and lodged with the Director-General.
(2)  An application ceases to have effect when a notice of withdrawal is lodged under this section.
(3)  The withdrawal of an application under this section is irrevocable.

20   Continuation of title pending renewal

If an application for the renewal of a title has not been withdrawn or otherwise finally disposed of before the date on which the title would, but for this section, expire, the title continues in force until the date on which the application is withdrawn or otherwise finally disposed of.

20A   Waiver of minor procedural matters

(1)  The Minister may grant or renew a petroleum title even though the applicant or holder has failed to comply with a requirement of this Act or the regulations:
(a)  as to the time within which anything is required to be done, or
(b)  as to the details to be contained in any notice to be served, lodged or caused to be published by the applicant, or
(c)  as to the documents or particulars to accompany the application, or
(d)  as to the furnishing of information by the applicant.
(2)  This section does not authorise the Minister to grant or renew a petroleum title in the case of an applicant or holder who has failed to comply with such a requirement unless the Minister is satisfied that the failure is unlikely:
(a)  adversely to affect any person’s rights under this Act or the regulations, or
(b)  to result in any person’s being deprived of information necessary for the effective exercise of those rights.

21   Grounds on which application may be refused

An application for a petroleum title may be refused if:
(a)  the application is not made in accordance with this Part and any other relevant provisions of this Act or the regulations, or
(b)  the grant of the title concerned would contravene this Act, or
(c)  the proposed work program does not meet the Minister’s minimum standards in relation to the nature and extent of activities that should be carried on by the holder of the title under the authority of the title, or
(d)  the applicant does not meet the Minister’s minimum standards in relation to technical and financial capability to carry out the proposed work program.

22   Cancellation and suspension of title

(1)  A petroleum title may be cancelled by the Minister if the Minister is satisfied that its holder has, at any time during the term of the title:
(a)  contravened or failed to fulfil any of the conditions of the title, or
(b)  failed to use the land comprised in the title in good faith for the purposes for which it has been granted, or
(c)  used the land for a purpose other than that for which the title has been granted, or
(d)  contravened a provision of this Act or the regulations (whether or not the holder has been prosecuted or convicted of an offence arising from the contravention).
(2)  A petroleum title may be cancelled either wholly or in part by the Minister on the written request of the holder of the title.
(2AA)  A request for cancellation of a petroleum title may be withdrawn by means of a written notice of withdrawal signed by the holder of the title and lodged with the Director-General. The request ceases to have effect when the notice of withdrawal is lodged.
(2A)  The Minister may refuse to cancel a title in whole or in part unless:
(a)  all data and reports due under the regulations have been submitted, and
(b)  all data gathered, and operations carried on, during any period not covered in any such report are made the subject of a full report submitted to the Minister.
(3)  If during the term of any petroleum title any part of the land comprised in the title is required for any public purpose, the Minister may, on one month’s notice given by the Minister to the holder of the title, cancel the title so far as it relates to the relevant part of the land, either with or without restrictions as to depth.
(3A)  The Minister may suspend all or any specified operations under a petroleum title until further notice if the Minister is satisfied that the holder of the title has contravened:
(a)  a requirement under this Act to pay royalty, or to give or maintain security for the performance of the holder’s obligations under the title, or
(b)  any condition of the title that is identified as a condition related to environmental management.
(3B)  A condition of a title is identified as a condition related to environmental management if the condition is identified as a condition related to environmental management:
(a)  in the title, or
(b)  in any notice of the imposition or variation of the condition given to the title holder.
(4)  Cancellation of, or suspension of operations under, a petroleum title takes effect on the date on which written notice of the cancellation or suspension concerned is served on the holder of the title, or on such later date as is specified in the notice.
(4A)  Notice of a cancellation of a petroleum title is to be published in the Gazette as soon as practicable after the cancellation takes effect.
(5)  No compensation is payable by the Crown for or in respect of the cancellation of, or a suspension of operations under, a petroleum title.
(6)  Before cancelling a title on a ground referred to in subsection (1), or suspending operations under a title, the Minister:
(a)  must cause written notice of the proposed cancellation or suspension, and of the grounds of the proposed cancellation or suspension, to be served on the holder of the title, and
(b)  must give the holder of the title a reasonable opportunity to make representations with respect to the proposed cancellation or suspension, and
(c)  must take any such representations into consideration.
(7)  A suspension under this section is revoked on the date on which written notice from the Minister is served on the holder of the affected petroleum title or on such later date as is specified in the notice.
(8)  While any operations under a petroleum title are suspended, the title confers no right on its holder to carry out the operations concerned.

23   Conditions of titles

(1)  A petroleum title is subject to:
(a)  the conditions imposed by the Minister and specified in the title, and
(b)  any conditions prescribed by the regulations.
(2)  In the event of any inconsistency between conditions prescribed by the regulations and conditions imposed by the Minister, the latter prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.
(3)  The conditions that may be imposed on a title include (but are not limited to) conditions with respect to:
(a)  work to be carried out by the holder of the title in or in relation to the land comprised in the title during or after the term of the title, and
(b)  amounts to be expended by the holder of the title in carrying out any such work.
(4)  Conditions of the kind referred to in subsection (3) may include provision for the carrying out of an approved work program, and approved expenditure, for each year of the term of the title. Such conditions may be varied by the Minister from time to time by notice in writing served on the holder of the title.

24   Suspension of conditions of petroleum title

(1)  The Minister may from time to time, on written application being made by the holder of any petroleum title, and if the Minister considers that adequate reasons have been furnished, authorise suspension of any or all of the conditions relating to the working of the land comprised in the title.
(2)  The period of such a suspension cannot on any occasion exceed 6 months.
(3)  In granting such a suspension, the Minister may impose conditions:
(a)  for the protection of any wells, equipment or works on the land, or
(b)  for the protection of any petroleum deposits, water or minerals in the land or in any adjacent land, or
(c)  for any other purpose.

24A   Fit and proper person consideration in making certain decisions about petroleum titles

(1)  Despite anything to the contrary in this Act, any of the following decisions under this Act may be made on the ground that, in the opinion of the Minister, a relevant person is not a fit and proper person (without limiting any other ground on which such a decision may be made):
(a)  a decision to refuse to grant or renew a petroleum title (a relevant person in such a case being an applicant for the grant or renewal of the petroleum title),
(b)  a decision to refuse to transfer a petroleum title (a relevant person in such a case being the proposed transferee),
(c)  a decision to cancel a petroleum title or to suspend operations under a petroleum title (in whole or in part), a relevant person in such a case being a holder of the petroleum title,
(d)  a decision to restrict operations under a petroleum title by the imposition or variation of conditions of a petroleum title (a relevant person in such a case being a holder of the petroleum title).
(2)  For the purpose of determining whether a person is a fit and proper person, the Minister may take into consideration any or all of the following matters (but without limiting the matters that can be taken into consideration for that purpose):
(a)  whether the person or (in the case of a body corporate) a director of the body corporate or of a related body corporate has compliance or criminal conduct issues (as defined in this section),
(b)  in the case of a body corporate, whether a director of the body corporate or of a related body corporate is or has been a director of another body corporate that has compliance or criminal conduct issues (as defined in this section) but only if the person was a director of that other body corporate at the time of the conduct that resulted in the compliance or criminal conduct issues,
(c)  the person’s record of compliance with relevant legislation (established to the satisfaction of the Minister),
(d)  in the case of a body corporate, the record of compliance with relevant legislation (established to the satisfaction of the Minister) of any director of the body corporate or a related body corporate,
(e)  whether, in the opinion of the Minister, the management of the activities or works that are or are to be authorised, required or regulated under the petroleum title are not or will not be in the hands of a technically competent person,
(f)  whether, in the opinion of the Minister, the person is not of good repute,
(g)  in the case of a body corporate, whether, in the opinion of the Minister, a director of the body corporate or a related body corporate is not of good repute,
(h)  whether, in the opinion of the Minister, the person is not of good character, with particular regard to honesty and integrity,
(i)  in the case of a body corporate, whether, in the opinion of the Minister, a director of the body corporate or a related body corporate is not of good character, with particular regard to honesty and integrity,
(j)  whether the person, during the previous 3 years, was an undischarged bankrupt or applied to take the benefit of any law for the relief of bankrupt or insolvent debtors, compounded with his or her creditors or made an assignment of his or her remuneration for their benefit,
(k)  in the case of an individual, whether he or she is or was a director of a body corporate that is the subject of a winding up order or for which a controller or administrator has been appointed during the previous 3 years,
(l)  in the case of a body corporate, whether the body corporate or a related body corporate is the subject of a winding up order or has had a controller or administrator appointed during the previous 3 years,
(m)  whether the person has demonstrated to the Minister the financial capacity to comply with the person’s obligations under the petroleum title,
(n)  whether the person is in partnership, in connection with activities that are subject to a petroleum title or proposed petroleum title, with a person whom the Minister considers is not a fit and proper person under this section,
(o)  whether the person has an arrangement (formal or informal) in connection with activities that are subject to a petroleum title or proposed petroleum title with another person whom the Minister considers is not a fit and proper person under this section, if the Minister is satisfied that the arrangement gives that other person the capacity to determine the outcome of decisions about financial and operating policies concerning those activities,
(p)  any other matters prescribed by the regulations.
(3)  A person or body corporate has compliance or criminal conduct issues if:
(a)  the Minister is satisfied that the person or body corporate has contravened any relevant legislation, whether or not the person or body corporate has been prosecuted for or convicted of an offence arising from the contravention, or
(b)  in the previous 10 years, the person or body corporate has been convicted in New South Wales or elsewhere of a serious offence or an offence involving fraud or dishonesty, or
(c)  the person or body corporate has held a petroleum title, or any other instrument issued or granted under relevant legislation, that has been suspended, cancelled or revoked.
(4)  The grant, renewal or transfer of a petroleum title can be refused on the ground that the Minister is of the opinion that the applicant is not a fit and proper person even if:
(a)  the petroleum title is necessary for the carrying out of State significant development that is authorised by a development consent, despite section 89K of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (the Planning Act), or
(b)  the petroleum title is necessary for the carrying out of approved State significant infrastructure under Part 5.1 of the Planning Act, despite section 115ZH of that Act, or
(c)  the petroleum title is necessary for the carrying out of a transitional Part 3A project under Schedule 6A to the Planning Act, despite section 75V of that Act, or
(d)  section 91A or 93 of the Planning Act would otherwise prevent that refusal.
(5)  To avoid doubt, section 22 (5) of this Act extends to the cancellation of (or suspension of operations under) a petroleum title under this section.
(6)  A relevant person who is aggrieved by a decision referred to in subsection (1) made on the ground that in the opinion of the Minister the person is not a fit and proper person may apply to the Land and Environment Court for a review of the Minister’s opinion, and the following provisions apply to such a review:
(a)  the review is to be by way of redetermination of the question of whether the relevant person is a fit and proper person, and fresh material or material in addition to, or in substitution for, the material considered by the Minister in the determination of that question may be given on the review and taken into consideration by the Court,
(b)  on a review the Court is to decide whether or not the relevant person is a fit and proper person,
(c)  the decision of the Court on a review is final and is to be given effect to by the Minister,
(d)  the Minister is to take whatever action may be necessary to give effect to the Court’s decision including action to revoke and remake any decision referred to in subsection (1).
(7)  In this section:

director of a body corporate includes any person involved in the management of the affairs of the body corporate.

related body corporate has the same meaning as in the Corporations Act 2001 of the Commonwealth.

relevant legislation means the following legislation:

(a)  this Act,
(b)  the Mining Act 1992,
(c)  the environment protection legislation,
(d)  the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979,
(e)  the work health and safety legislation within the meaning of the Mining Act 1992,
(f)  any other legislation prescribed by the regulations under this Act.

serious offence means:

(a)  an offence committed in New South Wales that is punishable by imprisonment for life or for a term of 5 years or more or by a fine of $500,000 or more, or an offence committed elsewhere than in New South Wales that if committed in New South Wales would be an offence so punishable, or
(b)  an offence committed under a law of the Commonwealth that is punishable by imprisonment for life or for a term of 5 years or more or by a fine of $500,000 or more.

25   Limitation on challenges to validity of titles

(1)  The grant of a petroleum title cannot be challenged in any legal proceedings commenced later than 3 months after the date on which notification of the grant of the title is published in the Gazette.
(2)  This section has effect regardless of the provisions of any other Act, but does not apply so as to affect any appeal from proceedings commenced within the time limited by subsection (1).

26   Title taken to be personal property

Every petroleum title and any interest in any such title is to be taken in law to be personal property and not to be of the nature of real estate. It may be disposed of during the lifetime of the holder and on the holder’s death descends or devolves on intestacy or by will as personal property.

27   Discovery of petroleum to be notified

If petroleum is discovered in land comprised in a petroleum title, the holder of the title:
(a)  must immediately inform the Minister of the discovery, and
(b)  must, within a period of 3 days after the date of the discovery, furnish to the Minister particulars in writing of the discovery.

28   Directions by Director-General on discovery of petroleum

(1)  If petroleum is discovered in land comprised in a petroleum title, the Director-General may, from time to time, by instrument in writing served on the holder of the title, direct the holder to furnish to the Director-General, within the period specified in the instrument, particulars in writing of any one or more of the following:
(a)  the chemical composition and the physical properties of the petroleum, and
(b)  the nature of the stratum in which the petroleum occurs, and
(c)  any other matters relating to the discovery that are specified by the Director-General in the instrument.
(2)  The Director-General may, by instrument in writing served on the holder of the title, direct the holder to do, within the period specified in the instrument, such things as the Director-General thinks necessary and specifies in the instrument to determine the chemical composition and physical properties of the petroleum and to determine the quantity of petroleum in the petroleum deposit to which the discovery relates or, if part only of that petroleum deposit is within the land comprised in the title, in the part of the petroleum deposit that is within that land.

28A   Right to explore for natural reservoirs

(1)  In addition to the other rights conferred by the title, every petroleum title confers on its holder the right to carry on such operations as are necessary to explore the land comprised in the title for the existence and availability of natural reservoirs.
(2)  The right conferred by operation of subsection (1) is subject to any order of the Minister served on the holder of the title and section 29.
(3)  By order under this section, the Minister may prohibit, or direct the holder of the title to desist from, carrying on operations of a kind specified in the order.
(4)  Contravention of an order under this section is taken to be a breach of the conditions of the title.
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