Record Offshore Petroleum Discoveries

16 March 2001

Australia's offshore petroleum exploration industry reaped a record number of oil and gas discoveries during 2000 according to the Australian Geological Survey Organisation's latest Australian Petroleum Exploration Development and Activity report.

The Report, released today by Warren Entsch, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources shows that 31 discoveries were made during 2000. Of those, 22 were in the Bonaparte, Browse and Carnarvon Basins off Northwestern Australia.

They included five small to medium oil discoveries and seven condensate (light oil) / gas discoveries.

Recent condensate / gas discoveries by Japanese explorers operating in their own right at Dinichthys, Gorgonichthys and Titanichthys in the Browse and at Crux in the Bonaparte Basins will further add to the resources of that region and contribute to the prospectivity of that area.

Mr Entsch said 61 wells were drilled offshore during 2000, the third highest level recorded with all drilling undertaken off Northwestern Australia.

"Onshore development drilling is also at its highest since the early 1980s," Mr Entsch said, "and while onshore exploration drilling remains low with 36 wells drilled during the year, industry forecasts predict this is set to more than double in 2001.

"We have yet to see the current high price of oil significantly increase operators' exploration budgets," Mr Entsch 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 Bonaparte, Browse, Carnarvon and Great Australian Bight Basins.

Topic contact: Last updated: October 4, 2013