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11 December 2000
Report highlights increase in petroleum discoveries
Australia's offshore petroleum exploration industry could be heading towards a record number of gas discoveries this year. The latest petroleum exploration figures were released today by Warren Entsch, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources.
New figures on petroleum exploration and development activity in the first nine months of this year were released today in the Australian Petroleum Exploration and Development Activity report by Geoscience Australia.
Mr Entsch said 11 offshore petroleum discoveries have been made so far this year in the Bonaparte, Browse and Carnarvon Basins off Northwestern Australia.
Recent gas discoveries at Gorgonichthys in the Browse Basin and at Linda and Chamois in the Carnarvon Basin will significantly contribute to the prospectivity of those areas and to Australia's gas reserves. The discoveries may also contribute to reserves of condensate (light oil) associated with some gas fields.
"Offshore exploration drilling in the first nine months of this year is above average levels and by the end of this year, may achieve the second highest number of offshore exploration wells drilled," Mr Entsch said.
"While onshore development drilling also continues at a high level, onshore exploration drilling activity remains sluggish.
"Seismic survey acquisition, although low in comparison to recent years may exceed last year's level. All of the current work is being conducted off Northwestern Australia."
It is expected the current high oil prices will continue and contribute to increased company operating budgets and additional exploration activity (particularly for those explorers who have oil production interests), with a likelihood of new discoveries.
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