Australia Awards 11 New Exploration Permits

Petroleum companies will invest almost $220 million in oil and gas exploration following the grant of new exploration permits in waters off Western Australia and Tasmania.

Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane announced the award of 11 new permits, as part of the Australian Government's ongoing program of releasing offshore acreage for petroleum exploration.

"These new exploration permits will advance Australia's quest for new oil and gas reserves to meet growing local and international demand," Mr. Macfarlane said.

Eight of the permits are located in the commercially proven Carnarvon Basin, which hosts world-class reserves of natural gas, as well as significant volumes of oil.

"The new permits are close to previous discoveries and existing infrastructure which suggests there's a good chance of new discoveries and, if that happens, subsequent development will be made easier," he said.

The remaining three permits are adjacent to the Yolla gas field in the Bass Basin off northern Tasmania, close to the major gas markets of southeastern Australia.

The successful bidders are:

Galveston Mining Corporation Pty Ltd and Exoil Limited (Permits T/37P and T/38P);
Benaris Petroleum BV (Permit T/39P);
Apache Northwest Pty Ltd (Permits WA-355-P and WA-357-P);
Apache Northwest Pty Ltd and BHP Billiton Petroleum Pty Ltd (Permit WA-354-P);
Apache Northwest Pty Ltd and Kufpec Australia Pty Ltd (Permit WA-356-P);
OMV Barrow Pty Ltd, Nippon Oil Exploration (Australia) Pty Ltd and Tap Oil Limited (Permit WA-358-P);
Cue Exploration Pty Ltd and Exoil Limited (Permit WA-359-P); and
Cue Exploration Pty Ltd and Gascorp Australia Ltd (Permits WA-360-P and WA-361-P)
The new permits will be jointly administered by the Australian Government and the respective State Government.

Under the work program bidding system for the award of exploration permits in Australia's offshore areas, applicants are required to nominate a guaranteed minimum 'dry hole' exploration program for each of the first three years of the permit term and a 'secondary' program for the remaining three years. Each component of the program must be completed in the designated year or earlier. Permits are granted for an initial term of six years.

Permit T/37P (released as T03-1) in the Bass Basin has been awarded to Galveston Mining Corporation Pty Ltd and Exoil Limited which proposed a guaranteed work program of studies and 300km2 of 3D seismic surveying at an estimated cost of $3.4 million. The secondary program comprises geotechnical studies and a well at an estimated cost of $12.4 million. The permit was granted on 9 December 2004. There were no other bids for the area.

Permit T/38P (released as T03-2) in the Bass Basin has also been awarded to Galveston Mining Corporation Pty Ltd and Exoil Limited with a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies and 200km2 of 3D seismic surveying at an estimated cost of $2.4 million. The secondary program comprises geotechnical studies and a well at an estimated cost of $12.4 million. The permit was granted on 9 December 2004. There were no other bids for the area.

Permit T/39P (released as T03-3) in the Bass Basin has been awarded to Benaris Petroleum BV, which offered a guaranteed work program of seismic data purchase, 1001km of 2D seismic surveying and geotechnical studies at an estimated cost of $5.5 million. The secondary program comprises 155km2 of new 3D seismic, a well and geotechnical studies at an estimated cost of $17.5 million. The permit was granted on 6 December 2004. The area attracted no other bids.

Permit WA-354-P (released as W04-12) in the Carnarvon Basin has been awarded to Apache Northwest Pty Ltd and BHP Billiton Petroleum Pty Ltd which proposed a guaranteed work program of 50km2 of 3D seismic surveying, seismic data reprocessing and geotechnical studies at an estimated cost of $0.75 million. They also proposed a secondary program of a well and geotechnical studies at an estimated cost of $12.25 million. The permit was granted on 20 December 2004. There were no other bids for the area.

Permit WA-355-P (released as W04-11) in the Carnarvon Basin has been awarded to Apache Northwest Pty Ltd, which proposed a guaranteed work program of 3D seismic data purchase and geotechnical studies at an estimated cost of $0.24 million. It also proposed a secondary program of a well and geotechnical studies at an estimated cost of $12.05 million. The permit was granted on 20 December 2004. There were no other bids for the area.

Permit WA-356-P (released as W04-9) in the Carnarvon Basin has been awarded to Apache Northwest Pty Ltd and Kufpec Australia Pty Ltd. The work program proposed over the first three years comprises 3D seismic data purchase, 812km2 of 3D seismic surveying, geotechnical studies and the drilling of four wells and an estimated total cost of $37.88 million. The proposed secondary work program comprises data review and the drilling two wells at an estimated cost of $15.3 million. The permit was granted on 20 December 2004. There were two other bids.

Permit WA-357-P (released as W04-14) in the Carnarvon Basin has been awarded to Apache Northwest Pty Ltd which proposed a guaranteed work program of two wells and data purchase and review at an estimated total cost of $ 13.05 million. It also proposed a secondary program of data review and a well at an estimated cost of $6.1 million. The permit was granted on 20 December 2005. There were no other bids for the area. Permit WA-358-P (released as W04-13) in the Carnarvon Basin has been awarded to OMV Barrow Pty Ltd, Nippon Oil Exploration (Australia) Pty Ltd and Tap Oil Limited which proposed a guaranteed work program of reprocessing 3D seismic data, drilling a well and geotechnical studies at an estimated total cost of $8.7 million. The proposed secondary program comprises geotechnical studies and a well at an estimated cost of $8.4 million. The permit was granted on 20 January 2005. There was one other bid for the area.

Permit WA-359-P (released as W04-6) in the Carnarvon Basin has been awarded to Cue Exploration Pty Ltd and Exoil Limited with a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies and 250km of 2D seismic surveying at an estimated total cost of $1.0 million. It also proposed a secondary program comprising geotechnical studies and a well at an estimated cost of $15.45 million. The permit was granted on 1 February 2005. There were no other bids for the area.

Permit WA-360-P (released as W04-8) in the Carnarvon Basin has been awarded to Cue Exploration Pty Ltd and Gascorp Australia Ltd with a guaranteed work program of studies and 200km2 of 3D seismic surveying at an estimated total cost of $3.1 million. It also proposed a secondary program comprising geotechnical studies and a well at an estimated cost of $15.45 million. The permit was granted on 1 February 2005. There were no other bids for the area.

Permit WA-361-P (released as W04-7) in the Carnarvon Basin has been awarded to Cue Exploration Pty Ltd and Gascorp Australia Ltd which proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies and 250km of new 2D seismic at a total estimated total cost of $1.1 million. The proposed secondary program comprises geotechnical studies and a well at an estimated cost of $15.45 million. The permit was granted on 1 February 2005. The area attracted no other bids.

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