National Offshore Petroleum Titles

Australia's marine industries are worth more than $50 billion a year. Oil and gas is the largest single contributor to Australia's marine economy (see report), with most major global companies represented. Australia's offshore oil and gas industry is largely focused in the Northwest marine region (see report).

Western Australia and its adjacent offshore areas are divided into a series of blocks (titles), each five minutes of latitude by five minutes' longitude in size. Oil and gas companies apply for permits to explore and extract oil and gas from these areas. The National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA) is responsible for the day-to-day administration of petroleum and greenhouse gas titles in Commonwealth waters in Australia.

Mining operations, including exploration, are allowed in most Special Purpose and all Multiple use zones, subject to a class approval.

Mining is not allowed in:

  • Sanctuary, National Park, Recreational Use and Habitat Protection zones
  • the Coral Sea Marine Park.

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) is the sole assessor of offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas activities in Commonwealth waters.

By law, a petroleum or greenhouse gas activity cannot commence before NOPSEMA has assessed and accepted an environment plan for that activity. NOPSEMA takes account of impacts on marine park values.

NOPSEMA will carefully assess any application for exploration and mining operations in a marine park. They will also regulate mining if it is approved, to avoid or minimise any impacts.

Extraction of oil and gas poses risks to marine environments via potential hazardous spills. The map above shows areas within and near Australian Marine Parks that are covered by petroleum titles and where these have been released for exploration or extraction as of 2016.

How to use the map

Click this button (third from top on the left hand side of the map) to see the map metadata.