Australia Awards New Permits for Offshore Exploration

Twelve new offshore petroleum exploration permits in Commonwealth waters were announced today by the Australian Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Ian Macfarlane.

The permits are for exploration areas off Western Australia, Tasmania and the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands.

Mr. Macfarlane said Australia was experiencing a major push by local and global explorers focused on low-risk, large-volume gas projects to serve the Asia-Pacific energy market.

"A record 52 bids were received for 20 of the 22 areas on offer. The successful bidders plan to invest more than $1 billion over the next six years pursuing Australian oil and gas opportunities," Mr. Macfarlane said.

"Explorers are responding positively to the range of Federal Government measures introduced to encourage offshore petroleum exploration.

"These include more favorable tax rates for petroleum companies exploring in frontier areas, setting frameworks to make it more attractive for seismic operators to provide valuable data to the industry, and Government funding of a further $134 million for pre-competitive data gathering by Geoscience Australia," Mr. Macfarlane said.

The twelve new permits are:

  • Three permits in the Exmouth Plateau, Carnarvon Basin, off Western Australia to Hess Exploration Australia Pty Ltd; Chevron Australia Pty Ltd, Shell Development (Australia) Pty Ltd and Mobil Australia Resources Company Pty Ltd; and Octanex NL and Strata Resources NL;
  • Three permits in the Barrow-Sub-basin, Carnarvon Basin, off Western Australia, to OMV Australia Pty Ltd; Sweetpea Petroleum Pty Ltd; and Holloman Corporation;
  • Three permits in the Bass Basin off Tasmania, to Origin Energy Resources Ltd; Tap (Shelfal) Pty Ltd, SPC Production Company Limited and Jubilant Energy Limited; and Rawson Resources Lt and Hardie Infrastructure Pty
  • One permit in the Southern Platform, Gippsland Basin, off Tasmania, to Great Artesian Oil and Gas Limited;
  • One permit in the Northern Browse Basin off the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands, to Shell Development (Australia) Pty Ltd and Nexus Energy Limited;
  • One permit in the Vulcan Sub-basin, Bonaparte Basin, off the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands, to Coogee Resources (Ashmore Cartier) Pty Ltd.

Under the work program bidding system, 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 awarded for an initial term of six years and may be renewed twice for periods of five years.

Permit WA-390-P (released as W06-11) in the Central Exmouth Plateau has been awarded to Hess Exploration Australia Pty Ltd. The company proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, 2000 km of 2D seismic data reprocessing, a new 3D seismic survey of 3135 km2, and 16 exploration wells at an estimated cost of $500.9 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies and 3135 km2 of 3D seismic data reprocessing at an estimated cost of $2.8 million. There were ten other bids for this area.

Permit WA-391-P (released as W06-14) in the Barrow Sub-basin has been awarded to OMV Australia Pty Ltd. The company proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, 340 km2 of 3D seismic data reprocessing (PSDM & PSTM) and 800 km of 2D seismic data reprocessing at an estimated total cost of $3.3 million. The secondary work program consists of three exploration wells and a new 3D seismic survey at an estimated total cost of $52 million. There was one other bid for this area.

Permit WA-392-P (released as W06-12) in the Central Exmouth Plateau has been awarded to Chevron Australia (W06-12) Pty Ltd, Shell Development (Australia) Pty Ltd, and Mobil Australia Resources Company Pty Ltd. The companies proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, 180 km of 2D seismic data reprocessing, a new 3D seismic survey of 1709 km2, and one exploration well at an estimated total cost of $44.082 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies, and a new 2D seismic survey of 100 km at an estimated total cost of $0.56 million. There were four other bids for this area.

Permit WA-393-P (released as W06-16) in the Barrow Sub-basin has been awarded to Sweetpea Petroleum Pty Ltd. The company proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, a new 2D seismic survey of 500 km, and one exploration well at an estimated total cost of $13 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies, and four exploration wells at an estimated total cost of $48.5 million. There were two other bids for this area.

Permit WA-394-P (released as W06-18) in the Southern Exmouth Plateau has been awarded to Octanex NL and Strata Resources NL. The companies proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, and a new 2D seismic survey of 375 km at an estimated total cost of $0.7 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies and one exploration well at an estimated total cost of $20.6 million. There were no other bids for this area.

Permit WA-395-P (released as W06-15) in the Barrow Sub-basin has been awarded to Holloman Corporation. The company proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, a new 3D seismic survey of 70 km2, purchase of 3D seismic data, and two exploration wells at an estimated total cost of $29.7 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies and two exploration wells at an estimated total cost of $28.2 million. There was one other bid for this area.

Permit T/44P (released as T06-4) in the Bass Basin has been awarded to Origin Energy Resources Limited. The company proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, a new 2D seismic survey of 275 km, a new 3D seismic survey of 235 km2, 4000 km of 2D seismic data reprocessing, and one exploration well at an estimated total cost of $27 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies, a new 3D seismic survey of 130 km2, and one exploration well at an estimated total cost of $22.5 million. There was one other bid for this area.

Permit T/45P (released as T06-2) in the Bass Basin has been awarded to Rawson Resources Ltd and Hardie Infrastructure Pty Ltd. The companies proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, a new 3D seismic survey of 200 km2 and two exploration wells, at an estimated cost of $22.3 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies and one exploration well, at an estimated cost of $10.6 million.

Permit T/46P (released as T06-1) in the Southern Platform, Gippsland Basin, has been awarded to Great Artesian Oil and Gas Limited. The company proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, reprocessing of 500 km of 2D seismic data and new 2D seismic surveying of 500 km, at a total estimated cost of $1.05 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies, two exploration wells and a new 2D seismic survey of 500 km, at a total estimated cost of $8.2 million.

Permit T/47P (released as T06-3) in the Bass Basin has been awarded to Tap (Shelfal) Pty Ltd, SPC Production Company Limited and Jubilant Energy Limited. The companies proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, a new 3D seismic survey of 506 km2, a new 2D seismic survey of 511 km, and two exploration wells at an estimated total cost of $33.35 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies, a new 3D seismic survey of 205 km2, and one exploration well at an estimated total cost of $14.6 million. There were three other bids for this area.

Permit AC/P40 (released as AC06-1) in the Vulcan Sub-basin has been awarded to Coogee Resources (Ashmore Cartier) Pty Ltd. The company proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, 450 km2 of 3D seismic data reprocessing (PSDM & PSTM), and two exploration wells at an estimated total cost of $39.5 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies and two exploration wells at an estimated total cost of $51 million. There was one other bid for this area.

Permit AC/P41 (released as AC06-2) in the Northern Browse Basin has been awarded to Shell Development (Australia) Pty Ltd and Nexus Energy Limited. The companies proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, a new 3D seismic survey of 450 km2, and three exploration wells at an estimated total cost of $114.2 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies at an estimated total cost of $0.9 million. There were three other bids for this area.

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