Obtaining a geothermal title

Acreage for exploration

Types of geothermal resources from the Earth's heat. All systems show extraction wells (red) and injection wells (blue) (courtesy Geothermal Explorers Ltd)
Types of geothermal resources from the Earth's heat. All systems show extraction wells (red) and injection wells (blue) (courtesy Geothermal Explorers Ltd)

Periodically, the geothermal acreage may be released for acreage bidding. Due to market uncertainties, geothermal exploration acreage may be obtained through a Geothermal Special Prospecting Authority with Acreage Option until further notice.

The Geothermal Special Prospecting Authority is an up to six months, non-renewable title granted to conduct a geothermal energy resource exploration survey. A geothermal well is not permitted under this Authority. On expiry of Authority proponents have a further six months to take up the Acreage Option and apply for either a Geothermal Exploration Permit or Geothermal Drilling Reservation. It is important that the Acreage Option forms part of the Authority application and cannot be applied for retrospectively.

All State areas not under geothermal title or assessment are available for Geothermal Special Prospecting Authority applications. Find out more about Acreage for exploration (page 105).

Farm-in to existing titles

Interests in geothermal titles can be bought and sold, while farm-in/farm-outs occur.

When buying into a title, farminees/transferees need to demonstrate their financial and technical ability to assume the responsibilities of the acquired interest. A transfer of a Geothermal Title must relate to the whole of the interest in the title and not merely the interest being dealt with.

Derivative titles

Once a geothermal energy resource discovery is made, the Geothermal Exploration Permit holder has the right to convert that discovery to a Geothermal Production Licence. Should the discovery be demonstrated as presently non-commercial but likely to become so within 15 years, called an interim title, a Geothermal Retention Lease may be granted.