Eight New Exploration Permits Released Offshore Western Australia

Australian Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane has released eight new offshore petroleum exploration permits in Western Australia, following a lively first round of bidding in the 2005 Offshore Acreage Release.

Mr. Macfarlane said the new permits open the way for around $413 million in new investment in offshore petroleum exploration in Australia over the next six years.

"There was intense bidding interest in the Browse Basin near major gas discoveries and there was strong investor interest in release areas across the country.

"The interest shown in the latest bidding round is testament to Australia's record of successful development of major offshore gas projects and our reputation as a reliable supplier of Liquefied Natural Gas to export markets," he said.

The new permits awarded are as follows:

  • One in the Browse Basin, a proven major hydrocarbon province, to Shell Development (Australia) who propose 12 exploration wells;
  • Five in the Carnarvon Basin to Woodside Energy, Total E&P Australia and Japan Australia LNG; Chevron Australia, Shell Development (Australia) and Mobil Australia; and Holloman Corporation, some in deep water, close to giant gas discoveries, others in shallow water, close to production infrastructure and
  • Two in the Bonaparte Basin, adjacent to significant hydrocarbon discoveries, to Goldsborough Energy Pty Ltd, which plans significant 3D seismic work.

"These releases are part of the Australian Government's commitment to encouraging more investment in offshore petroleum exploration and development," Mr Macfarlane said.

"This program provides a steady supply of new offshore exploration areas for bidding and is supported by funding for pre-competitive petroleum geoscience work by Geoscience Australia.

"The government has also recently introduced tax incentives to promote further development of frontier areas, which are largely unexplored," Mr. Macfarlane said

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 WA-371-P (released as W05-3) in the Browse Basin has been awarded to Shell Development (Australia) Proprietary Limited. The company proposed a guaranteed work program of studies, seismic data reprocessing and 12 exploration wells with an estimated cost of $148 million. The secondary work program consists of studies and one exploration well, at an estimated cost of $11 million. There were 7 other bids for the area.

Permit WA-369-P (released as W05-14) in the Central Exmouth Plateau, Carnarvon Basin has been awarded to Woodside Energy Ltd, Total E&P Australia and Japan Australia LNG (MIMI) Pty Ltd. The companies proposed a minimum guaranteed work program of studies, an electromagnetic survey and the purchase of 3D seismic data, at an estimated cost of $2.6 million. The secondary work program consists of studies, seismic data reprocessing and one exploration well, at an estimated cost of $16.3 million. There was one other bid for the area.

Permit WA-370-P (released as W05-15) in the Central Exmouth Plateau, Carnarvon Basin, has been awarded to Woodside Energy Ltd, Total E&P Australia and Japan Australia LNG (MIMI) Pty Ltd. The companies offered a minimum guaranteed work program of studies, 324 km2 of 3D seismic surveying and 3 exploration wells, with an estimated cost of $46.6 million. The secondary work program consists of studies, seismic data reprocessing and one exploration well, at an estimated cost of $16.3 million. There was one other bid for the area.

Permit WA-374-P (released as W05-16) in the Central Exmouth Plateau, Carnarvon Basin, has been awarded to Chevron Australia Pty Ltd, Shell Development (Australia) Pty Ltd and Mobil Australia Resources Company Pty Ltd. The companies proposed a minimum guaranteed work program of studies, 1800 km2 of 3D seismic, 2350 km of 2D seismic surveying and two wells, with an estimated cost of $54.78 million. The secondary work program consists of studies and 3D seismic data reprocessing, at an estimated cost of $0.3 million. There were 5 other bids for the area.

Permit WA-372-P (released as W05-17) in the Barrow Sub-basin, Carnarvon Basin, has been awarded to Holloman Corporation. The company offered a minimum guaranteed work program of seismic data purchase, 58 km2 of 3D seismic surveying and 2 wells, with an estimated cost of $21.2 million. The secondary work program consists of studies and two exploration wells, at an estimated cost of $20.2 million. There was one other bid for the area.

Permit WA-373-P (released as W05-18) in the Barrow Sub-basin, Carnarvon Basin, has been awarded to Holloman Corporation. The company offered a minimum guaranteed work program of seismic data purchase, 58 km2 of 3D seismic surveying and 2 wells with an estimated cost of $21.2 million. The secondary work program consists of studies and two exploration wells, at an estimated cost of $20.2 million. There was one other bid for the area.

Permit WA-376-P (released as W05-1) in the Bonaparte Basin has been granted to Goldsborough Energy Pty Ltd. The company offered a minimum guaranteed work program of studies and 800 km2 of 3D seismic surveying with an estimated cost of $1.75 million. The secondary work program consists of studies and one exploration well, at an estimated cost of $15.6 million. There were no other bids for the area.

Permit WA-375-P (released as W05-2) in the Bonaparte Basin has been granted to Goldsborough Energy Pty Ltd. The company offered a minimum guaranteed work program of studies and 800 km2 of 3D seismic surveying with an estimated cost of $1.75 million. The secondary work program consists of studies and one exploration well, at an estimated cost of $15.6 million. There were no other bids for the area.

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