Australia Launches 2016 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release

Australia launched Thursday the 2016 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release covering 28 areas across 5 basins in Commonwealth waters offshore the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands and Western Australia.

The launch, conducted by Senator Matthew Canavan, the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, covers 25 areas offered for work program bidding and 3 areas for cash bidding. The exploration blocks are located in the Bonaparte Basin, Browse Basin, Offshore Canning Basin, Roebuck Basin and Northern Carnarvon Basin.

According to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS), the 2016 acreage release consists of 3 rounds, 2 work program and 1 cash bid round with the following closing dates:

  • Cash bid prequalification: Oct. 20, 2016
  • Round 1 - work program: Dec. 8, 2016
  • Cash bid auction (for prequalified applicants only): Feb. 2, 2017
  • Round 2 - work program: March 23, 2017

The cash bid prequalification covers release areas W16-17, W16-22 and W16-25, while Round 1 - work program includes AC16-1, AC-16-2, W16-1, W16-3, W16-8, W16-10, W16-11, W16-13, W16-15, W16-16, W16-19, W16-20 and W16-21.

The cash bid auction release areas are W16-17, W16-22 and W16-25, while AC16-3, AC16-4, W16-2, W16-4, W16-5, W16-6, W16-9, W16-12, W16-14, W16-18, W16-23 and W16-24.

The DIIS indicated that all release areas for 2016 are supported by precompetitive geological and geophysical data and analysis undertaken by Geoscience Australia, while information on other considerations that may impact upon future petroleum activities in these areas are collated and available in the special notices. 

Geoscience Australia has developed the National Offshore Petroleum Information Management System (NOPIMS) as an on-line data discovery and delivery system for Australian offshore petroleum wells and seismic surveys.

Detailed information on the 2016 acreage release can be found online at

Chee Yew has covered the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry in Asia for more than 15 years. Email Chee Yew at


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