Australia Awards $425 Million in Offshore Permits



The Australian Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon Martin Ferguson MP, has awarded nine exploration permits representing a $425 million investment in Australia's offshore petroleum sector.

"The enthusiasm of these companies to invest such large sums demonstrates both the attractiveness of Australia as a location for investment, and the highly prospective nature of our petroleum areas," Mr. Ferguson said.

"It is also encouraging to see the entry of new explorers to the Australian market. This heightens our expectations of greater exploration activity now and in the future, and improves the chance of a new discovery being made.

"With only about a decade of known oil resources remaining at today's production rates, Australia is looking down the barrel of a $25 billion trade deficit in petroleum products by 2015. That is why the exploration that will take place in these new permits is so vital to the national interest," the Minister said.

The new permits cover a range of prospectivities, water depths and play types.

The nine new permits consist of:

  • One permit in the Bonaparte Basin, off the Northern Territory to SIPC Australia Pty Ltd (NT-P76).
  • Four permits in the Bonaparte Basin, in the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands, to Apache Northwest Pty Ltd and Total E&P Australia in equal partnership (AC/P42 and (AC/P43) and Finder Exploration Pty Ltd (AC/P44 and AC/P45).
  • Three permits in the Browse Basin, off Western Australia to Total E&P Australia (WA-408-P) Santos Offshore Pty Ltd, Chevron Australia (W07-5) Pty Ltd and Inpex Browse Ltd. (WA-410-P) and and Santos Offshore Pty Ltd, Inpex Browse Ltd and Beach Petroleum Ltd. (WA-411-P).
  • One permit in the Carnarvon Basin, off Western Australia to Cue Exploration Pty Ltd and Gascorp Australia Pty Ltd (WA-409-P).

One of the areas, NT/P76 (released as NT07-1) is eligible for the Designated Frontier Area tax incentive.

A total of 14 bids were received for the nine areas.

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.

NT/P76 (released as NT07-1): on Troubadour Terrace in the Bonaparte Basin off the Northern Territory has been awarded to SIPC Australia Pty Ltd. The company proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies and 500km of 2D seismic reprocessing, 1000 sq km of new 3D seismic surveying, 2000 km of new 2D seismic surveying and data processing to an estimated value of $35.65 million. The secondary work program consists of one well and geotechnical studies to a value of $38.5 million. There was one other bid for this area. This area is subject to the Designated Frontier Area tax incentive.

AC/P42 (released as AC07-1): in the Bonaparte Basin in the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands has been awarded to Apache Northwest Pty Ltd and Total E&P Australia. The companies proposed a guaranteed work program of 2500km of 2D seismic data reprocessing, 895 sq km of new 3D seismic surveying and geotechnical studies, to an estimated value $18.69 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies and one well to a value of $30.2 million. There were no other bids for this area.

AC/P43 (released as AC07-2): in the Bonaparte Basin in the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands has been awarded to Apache Northwest Pty Ltd and Total E&P Australia. The companies proposed a guaranteed work program of 1500km of 2D seismic data reprocessing, 822 sq km of new 3D seismic surveying and one well, at an estimated cost of $32.95 million. The secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies, to a value of $0.3 million. There was one other bid for this area.

AC/P44 (released as AC07-4): in the Bonaparte Basin in the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands has been awarded to Finder Exploration Pty. Ltd. The company proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, 750 km of new 2D seismic surveying and seismic interpretation, at an estimated cost of $2.943 million. The secondary work program consists of prospect identification and one well, to a value of $35.3 million. There were no other bids for this area.

AC/P45 (released as AC07-5): in the Bonaparte Basin in the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands has been awarded to Finder Exploration Pty. Ltd. The company proposed a guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, 1200 km of new 2D seismic surveying and seismic interpretation, at an estimated cost of $3.602 million. The secondary work program consists of prospect identification and one well, to a value of $35.3 million. There were no other bids for this area.

WA-408-P (released as W07-6): in the Browse Basin off Western Australia has been awarded to Total E&P Australia. The company proposed a guaranteed work program of 1300 sq km of new 3D surveying, 3 wells and geotechnical studies to an estimated value of $94 million. The secondary work program proposes geotechnical studies to a value of $6 million. There were three other bids for this area.

WA-409-P (released as W07-16): in the Carnarvon Basin off Western Australia has been awarded to Cue Exploration Pty Ltd and Gascorp Australia Pty Ltd. The company proposed a guaranteed work program consisting of 1400 km of new 2D seismic surveying and geotechnical studies, with an estimated value of $3 million. The secondary work program consists of 1 well and geotechnical studies, with an estimated value of $25.5 million. There were no other bids for this area.

WA-410-P (released as W07-5): in the Browse Basin off Western Australia has been awarded to Santos Offshore Pty Ltd, Chevron Australia (W07-5) Pty Ltd and Inpex Browse Ltd. The company proposed a guaranteed work program of licensing 375 sq km of 3D seismic data including reprocessing and geotechnical studies at an estimated cost of $0.76 million. The secondary work program consists of one well, geotechnical studies and marketing studies at an estimated cost of $30.5 million. There were no other bids for this area.

WA-411-P (released as W07-7): in the Browse Basin off Western Australia has been awarded to Santos Offshore Pty Ltd, Inpex Browse Ltd and Beach Petroleum Ltd. The company proposed a guaranteed work program consisting of licensing 1425 sq km of 3D seismic data, reprocessing of 1925 sq km of 3D seismic data and geotechnical studies, to an estimated value of $1.46 million. The secondary work program consists of 1 well, geotechnical studies and marketing studies to an estimated value of $30.5 million. There were no other bids for this area.


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