Petroleum Discoveries at Record High

05 June 2001

Australia's petroleum exploration industry achieved a record number of oil and gas discoveries in the first quarter of this year according to the latest figures released today by the Australian Geological Survey Organisation.

According to the report, Australian Petroleum Exploration Development and Activity 1 January to 31 March 2001, 12 discoveries were made in the first three months of 2001. Of those, five were in the offshore Bonaparte and Carnarvon Basins off Northwestern Australia and seven were onshore in the Cooper/Eromanga Basins of Queensland and South Australia and the Otway Basin of Victoria.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Warren Entsch said the continuing high level of discoveries this quarter follows last year's record level of 31 discoveries, of which 22 were offshore, the highest ever recorded.

"This number of discoveries represents the highest number of petroleum discoveries in a single quarter of any year and is an outstanding effort by the industry at a time when some uncertainty regarding exploration budgets has been expressed by the industry,"he said.

Mr Entsch noted that the level of both offshore and onshore exploration drilling activity is at its highest first quarter level since 1998.

"It is particularly pleasing to note that the level of onshore exploration drilling is showing signs of revival following a number of years of low activity.

"An earlier industry forecast predicts that the current level of onshore activity may be upheld and result in a doubling of onshore exploration activity this year.

"Onshore development drilling is continuing at high levels with all of the completions occurring in the mature Cooper/Eromanga Basin of Queensland and South Australia. Offshore, work is continuing on developing the Legendre oil field which has produced first oil in the second quarter of 2001," he said.

The Report also indicates that seismic survey activity, which underpins exploration drilling, continued at high levels with a number of large 2D and 3D surveys carried out in the Browse, Carnarvon and Great Australian Bight Basins.

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