Australian waters have large reserves of oil and gas (collectively referred to as petroleum) under the seabed. Companies can explore for and extract petroleum if they have permission to do so. The science is clear that this industry, which has numerous environmental, economic, and social impacts, needs to be wound down. Yet companies are seeking to expand their operations and develop new petroleum fields.
This factsheet explains how offshore petroleum exploration and production is assessed and approved in Australia’s Commonwealth waters, including opportunities for the community to have a say on these projects.
Separate assessment processes apply to activities that take place in State and Territory waters. This fact sheet does not cover those processes.
This factsheet uses lots of terms that may be unfamiliar to the average reader. We have defined these terms in the Key Terms section.