Acreage Release 2016

The annual release of offshore acreage is a key part of the Australian Government's strategy to encourage the responsible development of oil and gas resources. The 2016 Acreage Release comprises 28 areas in Commonwealth waters across Australia¿s North West Shelf in the Bonaparte, Browse, Canning, Roebuck and Northern Carnarvon basins. The latter is Australia¿s premier hydrocarbon province and hosts 17 of the newly released areas.

Of the 28 areas, 25 are offered for work program bidding, while the remaining three are available for cash bidding. Closing dates for work program bids are 8 December 2016 for Round One and 23 March 2017 for Round Two. The auction date for cash bid areas is 2 February 2017 for which potential bidders need to prequalify by 20 October 2016.

The areal extent of the 2016 Release Areas varies from one graticular block to 320 graticular blocks (80km2 to 26,315km2), reflecting the variety of exploration opportunities which range from mature areas in hydrocarbon producing basins to underexplored regions in which data coverage is sparse.

All 2016 Release Areas were supported by industry nominations providing evidence that Australia¿s offshore basins continue to attract business investments even during times of global downturn in exploration activities. As is the case every year, the 2016 Acreage Release is of interest to all exploration companies, whether they are small or large, multinationals, independents or national oil companies.

Geoscience Australia's forward petroleum program supports the petroleum industry's activities through geological studies aimed at establishing basin-scale structural frameworks and a comprehensive assessment of Australian petroleum source rocks. These will underpin all hydrocarbon prospectivity studies. Furthermore, the Australian Government continues to assist offshore exploration activities by providing ready access to a wealth of geological and geophysical data.

Data supporting the 2016 Release Areas

Geoscience Australia developed the National Offshore Petroleum Information Management System (NOPIMS) as an online data discovery and delivery system for all Australian offshore petroleum wells and seismic surveys.

The latest release of the NOPIMS includes an improved user interface; additional and improved functionalities, such as cross multi browser compatibility, new higher quality maps with ArcGIS integration; the inclusion of web services; and integration with Geoscience Australia's Web Map Services (WMS). The NOPIMS is now populated with reports and data for more than 85% of the offshore petroleum wells and seismic surveys. The NOPIMS does not currently store reprocessed seismic survey data, field seismic, processed seismic or navigation datasets currently held on tape. For information about these datasets as well as any other data not yet available in the NOPIMS, please contact

Access to the full functionality of the NOPIMS requires self-registration and with a password change function. To self-register please visit:

A new landing page is accessible via web link . The landing page provides links to access and help, about us and related information. Any reports and data for wells and surveys not contained within the NOPIMS can be requested directly from Geoscience Australia by contacting or NOPIMS Help Desk (1800 NOPIMS).

Please note that data for both wells and surveys in NOPIMS are a subset of the submitted data to the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA). Geoscience Australia has renamed some datasets for improved search functionality and ease of use. NOPIMS does not store the field data for seismic surveys. For seismic field data please contact

Future releases of NOPIMS will allow clients to search for information on cores, cuttings, gases, fluids, and slides held in the National Offshore Petroleum Data and Core Repository - a collaboration between Geoscience Australia, NOPTA, and the Geological Survey of Western Australia. Presently, clients can search for this information using the Petroleum Information Management System (PIMS) online and the Western Australian Petroleum and Geothermal Information Management System (WAPIMS).

The 2016 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release website assists prospective applicants in preparing applications for exploration permits. It contains an 'Overview for Applicants', 'Guidance Notes for Applicants', geology summaries and listings of available data including well, core and sample analytical data.

Client Services Phone: Within Australia: 02 6249 9966, International: +61 2 6249 9966