Western Australia Official: Record Exploration Spending

An exciting chapter in petroleum exploration in Western Australia is about to unfold, with an unprecedented $841million to be spent on new exploration work programs in the state's far north.

Resources Minister Francis Logan announced Wednesday that oil and gas exploration permits had been granted for 30 new wells to be drilled in the Browse Basin, the Exmouth Plateau and the Carnarvon Basin.

Logan said this included the biggest single work commitment in WA's petroleum exploration history.

"American energy giant, the Hess Corporation, has undertaken to spend $504 million on exploration over the next three years, including 16 new wells on the Exmouth Plateau, about 130 km west of Barrow Island," the Minister said. "We believe the Hess work program is a record bid for an Australian oil and gas permit, eclipsing Shell's $127 million bid to win a permit on the Browse Basin last year."

Logan said Hess had contracted a drilling rig for the first year of its operation.

The company had also opened a temporary office in Perth but would be looking to expand its operations once the project began.

"The deal with Hess shows petroleum exploration in WA is reaching new heights," the Minister said.

"WA accounts for 56 percent of Australia's petroleum exploration total, with petroleum exploration in WA increasing by 65 percent in the last financial year from $572 million to $942 million."

Other oil and gas exploration permits have been awarded to:

  • Woodside Energy for one well in the Browse Basin ($96 million);
  • Chevron Australia, Shell and Mobil for one well in the Exmouth Plateau ($45 million);
  • OMV Australia for two wells in the Carnarvon Basin ($55 million);
  • Holloman Corporation for four wells in the Carnarvon Basin ($58 million);
  • Sweetpea Petroleum for five wells in the Carnarvon Basin ($62 million); and
  • Octanex and Strata Resources for one well in the Carnarvon Basin ($21 million).
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