Australia Warns Oil And Gas Cos to Develop Interests

Dow Jones Newswires

MELBOURNE (Dow Jones Newswires), Jun. 15, 2009

Australian Energy Minister Martin Ferguson has warned foreign energy companies to develop their oil and gas interests in the nation soon, or risk having them stripped away, the Age newspaper reported on its Web site Sunday.

The report quoted Ferguson as saying that some foreign companies are hoarding oil and gas leases in Australia for a "rainy day" while they make investments elsewhere. "We will no longer tolerate oil companies sitting on assets that can be developed. We will not see our assets stranded. Our commitment to apply (a use-it-or-lose-it regime) is now real and the industry knows it."

The report said at present there are 46 retention leases for oil and gas. Companies can take out a lease for five years. Thirty-one of these are due for renewal. Ferguson has released a discussion paper signaling changes to current rules, the report said.  

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