2012 offshore acreage release and updated gas resource figures
14 May 2012
The Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP, formally released new offshore petroleum exploration areas at the annual Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference in Adelaide today.
The Minister announced that 27 areas in nine offshore basins covering a total of approximately 200,000 square kilometres would be available for petroleum exploration in Commonwealth waters off the Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.
Areas on the North West Shelf feature prominently and include under-explored shallow water areas in the Arafura and Money Shoal basins off the Northern Territory. Frontier deep water areas in the outer Browse and Roebuck basins and on the outer Exmouth Plateau are included in this year’s releases.
Following the recent uptake by industry of exploration permits in the Bight Basin off South Australia, there are new opportunities in southern margin with three new release areas in the Ceduna Sub-basin, five in the Otway Basin, one large area in the Sorell Basin and two areas in the under-explored eastern deep-water part of eastern Gippsland Basin.
Those in the frontier Ceduna Sub-basin are adjacent to four exploration permits granted in 2011 and offer a range of opportunities in this highly prospective basin. In the western-most part of the gas-producing Otway Basin, a large release area offers opportunites to test geological similarities in under-explored areas beyond the continental shelf. Evidence of gas and oil in exploration wells in the eastern part of the release area confirm the presence of at least two working petroleum systems. In the eastern Otway Basin, several release areas are offered in shallow water on the eastern flank of the highly prospective Shipwreck Trough and provide areas of interest for petroleum exploration along the eastern basin margin southward into offshore Tasmania.
Details of the 2012 release can be found on the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism's Acreage Release website.
Geoscience Australia has also released a report on the latest available Australian gas resource figures. The Australian Gas Resource Assessment 2012 report, prepared in conjunction with the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, documents the growth of gas resources and infrastructure developments which underpin the increasing role for gas in the Australian and global energy mix.
Examples of key elements in the report include increases in coal seam gas (CSG) reserves, information about CSG/ liquid natural gas (LNG) projects under construction and the identification of tight and shale gas resources. It also provides information on major offshore conventional gas projects which have recently commenced construction, including Prelude in the Browse Basin, the world’s first floating LNG project. The release of the report coincides with the commencement of operations at Australia’s third export LNG project, Pluto.
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