Australia Awards Eight Offshore Exploration Permits

The award of eight new offshore petroleum exploration permits in waters off Western Australia and Tasmania will see an additional $160 million invested in offshore exploration over the next six years.

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

"In a time when oil prices are high and natural gas is becoming an increasingly important resource it is heartening to see companies are more than willing to explore for the next big petroleum discovery in offshore Australia," he said.

Six of the new permits are located in the petroleum-rich province of the Carnarvon Basin of Western Australia, which still holds the potential for further large discoveries. Two of these are located over Designated Frontier Areas, which allow an immediate uplift to 150 per cent on petroleum resource rent tax deductions for exploration expenditure.

"Designated Frontier Areas represent a push by the Government to enhance the investment climate for petroleum companies exploring in offshore waters. The uptake is very encouraging and a sign that the measure, introduced last year, is working," Mr. Macfarlane said.

The remaining two permits are located in offshore Tasmania in the Bass and Otway Basins. Both areas have significant petroleum potential and are close to the major gas markets of southeastern Australia and existing production and pipeline infrastructure. The successful bidders are:

Western Australia, Carnarvon Basin:

  • Octanex NL, Strata Resources NL and Gascorp Australia Ltd (Permit WA/362P, re-release area W03-5).
  • Chevron Texaco Australia Pty Ltd and Shell Development (Australia) Pty Ltd (Permit WA-364-P, released as W04-2 - a Designated Frontier Area; Permit WA/365P, released as W04-3; Permit WA/366P, released as W04-4 - a Designated Frontier Area; and Permit WA/367P, released as W04-5)


  • Bass Basin: 3D Oil Pty Ltd (Permit T/41P, released as T04-2)
  • Otway Basin: Santos Offshore Pty Ltd (Permit T/40P, released as T04-1)

The new permits will be jointly administered by the Australian Government and the respective State Governments.

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