Resources Minister Keith Pitt has promised the Hunter community will not have to wait long for a decision on an application to allow offshore gas exploration off the region's coast.
The current licence for Petroleum Exploration Permit 11 (PEP 11), which covers an area stretching from Port Stephens to Sydney, expired on Friday.
Advent Energy wants to extend the permit for another five years arguing that its plans to explore and potentially drill for gas represent a "potential solution to substantial gas shortage issues".
Community opposition to the plan has swelled in recent weeks. More than 100 people formed a human chain as part of a protest at Bar Beach on Thursday afternoon.
In a statement on Friday, Mr Pitt said he recognised the level of community concern about the project.
"There is no deadline for this decision to be delivered, however given the community interest in the issues, I would prefer the decision was made soon," he said.
"I will give this proposal the detailed consideration it deserves, taking into account all relevant facts and advice from National Petroleum Titles Administrator.
"It is understandable that an issue like this has caused considerable community interest and discussion, but I am concerned about some of the claims being made."
Mr Pitt also said he was yet to receive advice from the NSW Government about the proposal.
John Barilaro, who is also NSW Minister for Industry and Trade, told the Newcastle Herald last week that the state government's position had not changed since it declared it would not support applications to extend the life of PEP 11 in 2017.
"I recently met with Keith Pitt and made it very clear that the NSW Government does not support this project. There is no upside to it," Mr Barilaro said.
Mr Pitt defended the regulation of offshore petroleum exploration and mining in Australia.
"The Government is committed to protecting the marine environment by ensuring sustainable practices by all marine users, now and into the future," he said.
"I appreciate the strong community interest in the issue but am concerned about some of the exaggerated claims being made by groups who are opposed to the permit.
"While the permit covers a wide area, gas exploration targets are around 30 kilometres offshore and any rig is unlikely to be visible from the coast.
"Rigs will not be popping up off Sydney Harbour and surfers will not be dodging them trying to catch waves."
He said the offshore petroleum industry was a valuable source of jobs, wealth and energy security.
"It acts responsibly and safely, while contributing to local communities and co-exiting with local industries like fisheries and tourism," he said
"The oil and gas developments offshore Victoria and Western Australia have been operating for over 50 years and have coexisted with, and continue to benefit, local communities, providing job and business opportunities."