Data Room to Boost Search for Oil Reserves

A new geological data room at Geoscience Australia is expected to substantially increase offshore petroleum exploration in Australian waters, Australian Resources Minister, Ian Macfarlane, said today.

"This data room will be a key driver in stimulating offshore petroleum exploration, increasing Australia's energy supplies and improving our energy security," Mr Macfarlane said at the opening of the new facility at Geoscience Australia's headquarters in Canberra.

"It is an industry focussed facility that will provide exploration companies with the seismic and geological data they need to make decisions about exploring for hydrocarbons in Australian waters.

"Expert interpretation by scientists is available as part of the new service, saving exploration companies significant time and cost. Companies can also purchase the comprehensive data package for their own in-house analysis.

"Industry will be able to scrutinise this information prior to bidding in the Australian Government's annual acreage release program for petroleum exploration.

Mr Macfarlane said that Australia needed to boost its exploration for petroleum in order to ensure energy security given Australia's fast-growing economy.

"The last time Australia was self-sufficient in oil was in 2000, but that has fallen to 58 percent," Mr Macfarlane said.

"Unless we make new discoveries the current projections for Australia are that we will only be 33 per cent self-sufficient in oil by 2015."

To address this, Geoscience Australia will focus on under-explored offshore areas as part of the Australian Government's $134 million Energy Security Initiative.

The areas include basins along Australia's southern and south-west margins and the more remote Capel, Faust, and Gower basins about 800km due east of Brisbane.