Exploration and access

Oil and gas production is underpinned by exploration. Without further exploration, production will begin to decline, compromising Australia’s energy security and prosperity.

Exploration is an expensive activity with a low chance of success, and oil and gas explorers can choose to invest in many parts of the world.

Australia has excellent potential for additional oil and gas resources, but the country remains underexplored. Vast onshore and offshore basins potentially containing significant untapped resources remain unexplored.

Need for reform

To attract exploration and maximise benefits from oil and gas production, Australia needs an efficient and sustainable policy framework.

Australia’s current regulatory frameworks for exploration (which vary across different states and in Commonwealth waters) are time-consuming and cumbersome to comply with.

Existing regulatory duplication, inefficiency and uncertainty are major deterrents to investment. The various state and Commonwealth systems often fail to deliver timely approvals. Exploration approvals processes, in particular, are often drawn-out and expensive.

Red tape that imposes high costs, delay and uncertainty creates the real risk that exploration investment will go overseas.

To encourage exploration, Australia needs a policy framework with stable, predictable, long-term rules.

Across Australia, APPEA has been working with federal and state government ministers and senior government officials to address the country’s complex and overlapping regulatory systems. But further reform is needed in all Australian jurisdictions and APPEA will continue working with the relevant ministers and departments to achieve this.