Australia Gets $320 Million Boost to Offshore Exploration


Browse Basin
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Australian Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane today announced seven new permits for petroleum exploration in Commonwealth waters, resulting in a multi-million dollar boost to offshore exploration investment.

"The new permits in Commonwealth waters off Western Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory will see an additional $320 million invested in offshore exploration over the next six years," said Mr Macfarlane.

"This is in addition to the $1 billion which petroleum explorers plan to invest over the next six years from the 12 permits that I announced last month.

"The annual release of offshore petroleum acreage is a key part of the Australian Government's strategy to encourage investment in petroleum exploration. Australia continues to receive strong interest from both local and global petroleum explorers, especially in the Browse Basin.

"This interest 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. These new permits will help further develop Australia's energy resources and underpin our long-term energy security."

The seven new permits are:

  • Two in the Gippsland Basin off Victoria to Great Artesian Oil and Gas Ltd;
  • One in the Gippsland Basin off Victoria to Eagle Bay Resources NL;
  • One in the North-Eastern Bonaparte Basin off the NT to Alpha Oil & Natural Gas Pty Ltd;
  • One in the Caswell Sub-basin, Browse Basin, off WA to ConocoPhillips Australia Exploration Pty Ltd and Karoon Gas Browse Basin Pty Ltd; and
  • Two in the Caswell Sub-basin, Browse Basin, off WA to Woodside Energy Ltd.

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

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.

Permit NT/P73 (released as NT06-5) in the North Eastern Bonaparte Basin has been awarded to Alpha Oil & Natural Gas Pty Ltd. The company proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies and a new 2D seismic survey of 2,000 km at an estimated total cost of $3.85 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies and one exploration well at an estimated total cost of $15.45 million. There was one other bid for this area.

Permit VIC/P63 (released as V06-2) in the Gippsland Basin has been awarded to Great Artesian Oil and Gas Limited. The company proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, 150 km of 2D seismic data reprocessing and two new 2D seismic surveys of 250 km each at an estimated total cost of $1.05 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies, a new 2D seismic survey of 500 km and two exploration wells at an estimated total cost of $8.2 million. There were no other bids for this area.

Permit VIC/P64 (released as V06-3) in the Gippsland Basin has been awarded to Great Artesian Oil and Gas Limited. The company proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, 500 km of 2D seismic data reprocessing and two new 2D seismic surveys of 250 km each at an estimated total cost of $1.05 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies, a new 2D seismic survey of 500 km and two exploration wells at an estimated total cost of $8.2 million. There were no other bids for this area.

Permit VIC/P65 (released as V06-4) in the Gippsland Basin has been awarded to Eagle Bay Resources NL. The company proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, 50 km of 2D seismic data reprocessing, a new 3D seismic survey of 400 km2 and one exploration well at an estimated total cost of $18.85 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies, a new 3D seismic survey of 200 km2 and one exploration well at an estimated total cost of $17.75 million. There were no other bids for this area.

Permit WA-396-P (released as W06-8) in the Caswell Sub-basin, Browse Basin, has been awarded to Woodside Energy Ltd. The company proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies and a new 3D seismic survey of 400km2 at an estimated total cost of $10.7 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies, a new 3D seismic survey of 250 km2 and a new CSEM survey at an estimated total cost of $9.4 million. There were no other bids for this area.

Permit WA-397-P (released as W06-7) in the Caswell Sub-basin, Browse Basin, has been awarded to Woodside Energy Ltd. The company proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, a new 3D seismic survey of 1,250 km2 and one exploration well at an estimated total cost of $69.4 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies, a new CSEM survey and a new 3D seismic survey of 250 km2 at an estimated total cost of $9.4 million. There were no other bids for this area.

Permit WA-398-P (released as W06-6) in the Caswell Sub-basin, Browse Basin, has been awarded to ConocoPhillips Australia Exploration Pty Ltd and Karoon Gas Browse Basin Pty Ltd. The companies proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, a new 3D seismic survey of 1,400 km2 and four exploration wells at an estimated total cost of $114 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies and two exploration wells at an estimated total cost of $33 million. There were three other bids for this area.

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