Legislative framework for natural gas from shale and tight rock

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) is responsible for regulating the resources industry in Western Australia. DMIRS role is to ensure the highest levels of safety, health and environmental standards are achieved in accordance with State and Australian Government legislation, regulations and policies. The ultimate goal is to ensure the safe and responsible development of the State’s resources for the benefit of all Western Australians.
Safety notices on the roadside during seismic surveying operations in the Canning Basin (courtesy Geoscience Australia)
Safety notices on the roadside during seismic surveying operations in the Canning Basin (courtesy Geoscience Australia)

Two sets of Resource Management and Administration Regulations for petroleum and geothermal activities commenced on 1 July 2015.

The regulations are the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources (Resource Management and Administration) Regulations 2015 (the ‘onshore’ regulations) and the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Resource Management and Administration) Regulations 2015. Copies are available on the State Law Publisher website.

These two sets of regulations provide a risk-based management scheme for the exploration for, and production of, petroleum and geothermal energy resources. A range of resource management and administration matters, are covered by the regulations, including well management plans for the approval of all drilling activities (including shale and tight gas), notification and reporting of discovery of petroleum; field management plans and approvals of petroleum recovery.

The regulations ensure that adequate information will be provided about all aspects of exploration, discovery, development and production operations in relation to petroleum and geothermal energy resources. They also outline confidentiality periods applicable to information submitted by title holders. This information ensures that petroleum and geothermal energy resources operations are carried out in a proper manner.

In the case of operations relating to the exploration or recovery of petroleum, they also ensure work is conducted in accordance with good oilfield practice, carried out in a way that reduces the risk of aquifer contamination and compatible with optimum long-term recovery of petroleum and geothermal energy resources.

The two sets of Resource Management and Administration Regulations will form the third and final part of the suite of petroleum and geothermal regulations which commenced in 2007 with four submerged lands area safety regulations, was followed by a second phase of onshore safety regulations which commenced in 2010 and, lastly, three environment regulations in 2012.

Information on DMIRS approvals process for petroleum and geothermal titles is available online. Please also visit our ‘Information Centre’ and 'Resource Management and Administration Regulations' pages for a substantial list of reading materials.

Related information

Guide to the Regulatory Framework for Shale and Tight Gas in Western Australia - 4592 Kb

A Whole-of-Government Approach 2015 Edition

Environment regulations Find out how exploration proposals for natural gas from shale and tight rock activities are assessed against environmental regulations

Land use and access Find out about the surface impacts of natural gas from shale or tight rock activities and the rights of private land owners and petroleum operators when negotiating land access

Safety regulations Find out about the surface impacts of natural gas from shale or tight rock activities and the rights of private land owners and petroleum operators when negotiating land access