Project requirements for petroleum, geothermal and greenhouse gas storage activities

Environmental approval

Under Queensland law, resource activities such as petroleum (including coal seam gas), geothermal and greenhouse gas storage activities must be issued with an environmental authority (EA) before starting operations.

An EA regulates how an operator manages the potential environmental risks and impacts that may be caused by their activities.

There are three types of applications for an EA: standard, variation and site-specific applications. There are different requirements for each type of application.

An EA resulting from the standard application process is subject to complying with standard conditions and all proposed environmentally relevant activities (ERAs) for the EA must be eligible ERAs.

To make a standard application for an EA, the activities must be able to comply with the eligibility criteria for the activity. Where an applicant can comply with the eligibility criteria but cannot or does not want to comply with a standard condition, a variation application can be made. Where an applicant can neither comply with the eligibility criteria nor the standard conditions, a site specific application must be made.

Eligibility criteria and standard conditions have been developed for the following activities:

  • petroleum exploration
  • petroleum survey
  • petroleum pipeline
  • geothermal exploration

If potential risks or impacts are identified during the variation or site-specific application process, the EA may be issued with some or all of the standard conditions and/or a series of other more prescriptive conditions—depending on the risks of the activity and the need to properly manage the activity, to minimise the potential for environmental harm.

Conditions may cover the management, treatment and disposal of waste water, ongoing assessment of hydraulic fraccing activities (including chemical use), and other environmental issues such as noise and land disturbance. Regular monitoring is also required by the holder of the EA to ensure conditions are being met.

For site-specific projects (such as large-scale oil and gas production fields, major gas pipelines and LNG processing plants), the assessment process may also require an environmental impact statement (EIS), to be completed by the operator as part of an information request.

You can apply for an EA online through Online Services. Alternatively, you can apply using the standard, variation or site-specific application forms, which are available by emailing, or phoning 1300 130 372 and selecting option 4).

For more information about applying for an EA, including obtaining application forms, please visit the Business Queensland website.

Environmental impact statement

The EIS process describes and evaluates:

  • environmental values (including social and economic)
  • impacts of a proposed development on these values
  • proposed avoidance, mitigation and offset measures to be used.

The process includes extensive public consultation and review. The EA assessment process will only continue after an EIS has been finalised.

Applications may be referred to the Independent Expert Scientific Committee for advice where the proposal is a project application for coal seam gas or a large coal mining development that is likely to have a significant impact on water resources. This committee was established under the National Partnership Agreement on Coal Seam Gas and Large Mining Development.

For more information, please refer to EIS processes and the National Partnership Agreement on Coal Seam Gas and Large Mining Development.

More information

View the current projects subject to public notification, or search the public register of environmental approval.