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Australia attracts $660 million in new offshore exploration

17 December 2014

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane today announced the awarding of seven new permits worth more than $660 million as part of Round 2 of the Australian Government’s 2013 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release.

The new petroleum exploration permits are in Commonwealth waters off the shores of Western Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory.

“I am pleased to see that Australia’s offshore resources sector has been able to attract this level of investment,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“It is an increase in the level of investment from Round 1 and demonstrates Australia remains a strong and attractive investment destination.

“The Australian Government looks forward to continuing to work with the petroleum industry to ensure Australia maintains these high levels of exploration investment.

“These permits will see more than $660 million in offshore exploration investment over the next six years.”

This concludes the 2013 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release which has secured a guaranteed expenditure of $238 million over the next three years.

Further information on titles under the Offshore Petroleum Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 can be found at https://neats.nopta.gov.au and on acreage release at www.petroleum-acreage.gov.au.

The specific permits awarded include:

VIC/P70 (released as V13-2) located approximately 110km east of Sale in the Gippsland Basin off the shore Victoria, has been awarded to Liberty Petroleum Corporation. Liberty proposed an $81.3 million guaranteed work program of 2D and 3D seismic interpretation, petroleum systems study, prospect lead and development, gas marketing study, development concepts, capex study and two exploration wells. The secondary work program consists of geological and geophysical studies, one exploration well and post well studies, totalling $50.9 million. There were four other bids for this area.

NT/P85 (released as NT13-1) located approximately 225 km from Darwin in the Bonaparte Basin off the shore of the Northern Territory, has been awarded to Santos Offshore Pty Ltd and Origin Energy Resources Limited. The joint venture proposed a $28.3 million guaranteed work program of geotechnical studies, 1,600 km² of 3D seismic acquisition, processing and interpretation. The secondary work program consists of geological and geophysical studies including updating deposition models with regional data and an exploration well, totalling $36 million. There was one other bid for this area.

WA-505-P (released as W12-7) located approximately 400 km north of Port Headland in the Roebuck Basin off the shore of Western Australia, has been awarded to Apache Northwest Pty Ltd. Apache proposed a $9.2 million guaranteed work program of 393km² of 3D seismic acquisition, geotechnical studies, 393 km² 3D seismic reprocessing, rock physics/quantitative interpretation and 3D seismic inversion studies. The $20.4 million secondary work program consists of geotechnical studies including prospect mapping and risk assessment and one exploration well totalling $20.4 million. There was one other bid for this area.

WA-506-P (released as W13-6) located approximately 160 km north of Karratha in the Northern Carnarvon Basin off the shore of Western Australia, has been awarded to Statoil Australia Theta B.V.  Statoil proposed a $50 million guaranteed work program of 2,000 km 2D seismic survey, 10,000 km multi-beam swath bathymetry data, acquisition of 50 piston core samples, 2D seismic interpretation and studies, 3,500 km² 3D seismic acquisition and interpretation. The $216 million secondary work program consists of two exploration wells, 2,500 km² of 3D seismic survey, analysis and interpretation totalling $216 million. There were two other bids for this area.

WA-507-P (released as W13-7) located approximately 160 km north of Karratha in the Northern Carnarvon Basin off the shore of Western Australia, has been awarded to Odyssey O&G Pty Ltd and Black Swan Resources Pty Ltd. The joint Venture proposed a $2.25 million guaranteed work program of geological and geophysical studies, 1,587 km2 of 3D seismic data purchase, 3D seismic interpretation, amplitude analysis, seismic reprocessing and petroleum system analysis. The $30.75 million secondary work program consists of interpretation of reprocessed seismic data, rock physic studies, reservoir and play analysis, prospect ranking and modelling, geochemical studies and one exploration well. There were no other bids for this area.

WA-508-P (released as W13-4) located approximately 245km north-west of Broome in the Browse Basin off the shore of  Western Australia, has been awarded to Pathfinder Energy Pty Ltd. Pathfinder proposed a $2.12 million guaranteed work program of geological and geophysical studies, 1,000 km of 2D seismic reprocessing, 221 km2 of 3D seismic acquisition, mapping and analysis of petroleum systems. The $61.2 million secondary work program consists of geological and geophysical studies, economic evaluation and risk assessment, engineering studies and one exploration well totalling. There were no other bids for this area.

WA-509-P (released as W13-5) located approximately 230km north-west of Broome in the Browse Basin off the shore of Western Australia, has been awarded to Pathfinder Energy Pty Ltd. Pathfinder proposed a $10.62 million guaranteed work program of geological and geophysical studies, 1,000 km of 2D seismic reprocessing, 1,411 km2 of 3D seismic acquisition, mapping and analysis of petroleum systems. The secondary work program consists of geological and geophysical studies, economic evaluation and risk assessment, engineering studies and one exploration well totalling $61.2 million. There were no other bids for this area.

From the Round 2 release, areas NT13-2, NT13-3, T12-2, V12-3 and W12-11 have reverted to vacant acreage. Areas W13-8, W13-19 and W13-20 were re-released for bidding and are currently under assessment.

Media contact: Mr Macfarlane's office 02 6277 7070