Changes to NSWALC’s Petroleum Exploration Applications

7 August, 2014

Changes to NSWALC's Petroleum Exploration Applications

The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) has refined its applications for petroleum exploration tenements to focus more strongly on  western New South Wales.

The changes will give NSWALC the best possible chance of finding commercial quantities of gas that can be developed for the benefit of Aboriginal people, and improve the economic opportunities in western NSW.

Although NSWALC has retained an application in the mid north coast, the focus of our exploration efforts will now primarily be the western area of New South Wales. This is an underexplored region and preliminary research by our joint venture partners indicates that it has good resource potential.  The prospectivity of the area, and the proximity to existing pipeline infrastructure and local industries that need power means that should gas be found, it can be commercialised relatively quickly and cheaply.

The areas in the west of New South Wales that we are focussing on are close to the Moomba to Sydney gas pipeline and have low population densities and relatively few competing land use pressures.  The NSW Government has also identified western NSW as a priority for exploration.

NSWALC has written to the NSW Office of Coal Seam Gas to notify it of the changes to our licence applications.

The following applications are withdrawn:

  • Petroleum Special Prospecting Authority* (PSPA) 55 (north coast, within the boundaries of the Tweed Byron, Ngulingah and Jali LALCs);
  • PSPA 60 (Blue Mountains south to the Victorian border, within the boundaries of the Mudgee, Orange, Bathurst, Deerubbin, Cowra, Pejar, Tharawal, Illawarra, Onerwal, Nowra, Brungle Tumut, Ngunnawal, Ulladulla, Batemans Bay, Mogo, Cobowra, Bodalla, Wagonga, Merrimans, Bega and Eden LALCs);

The following applications are unchanged:

  • PSPA 58 (mid north coast west to Tamworth, within the boundaries of the Birrigan Gargle, Grafton, Ngerrie, Yaegl, Coffs Harbour, Dorrigo, Nambucca, Bowraville, Bunya, Unkya, Thungutti, Kempsey, Birpai, Purfleet-Taree, Stuart Island, Armidale, Amaroo, Tamworth and Nungaroo LALCs);
  • PEL 150 (far north west, within the boundaries of the Wilcannia LALC)
  • PEL 151 (far north west, within the boundaries of the Tibooburra, Mutawintji, Wilcannia and Menindee LALCs)
  • PEL 152 (far north west, within the boundaries of the Winbar and Wilcannia LALCs)

A map of NSWALC's revised petroleum exploration applications is attached.

NSWALC remains committed to petroleum exploration because this can help lift our people out of poverty and give our young ones hope and opportunity.

By being a commercial partner in the exploration industry we can also have a much greater say in how we protect significant sites and ensure that the wishes of local Aboriginal people are respected.

However, we need to be realistic about this work. Most exploration permits don't uncover gas reserves and even if we do find gas it will be around five years until we can begin to commercial operations.

Lesley Turner
NSW ALC Chief Executive Officer


Map of NSWALC's revised petroleum exploration applications

* Note: A Petroleum Special Prospecting Authority (PSPA) is a short-term licence to enable desktop studies and non-invasive fieldwork.

* Note: A Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) is a medium term renewable licence to conduct field activities such as drilling and seismic surveys.


We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the lands where we work as well as across the lands we travel through. We also acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging.

Artwork Credit: Craig Cromelin, from a painting he did titled, "4 favourite fishing holes". It is a snippet of his growing years on the Lachlan River, featuring yabby, turtle, fish and family.