2013 Acreage Release provides opportunities in underexplored regions

28 May 2013

Map of Australia indicating areas for offshore petroleum acreage release

Offshore areas released for
petroleum exploration as part of
the 2013 acreage release

The Minister for Resources and Energy Gary Gray has released new offshore petroleum exploration areas at the annual Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) conference in Brisbane.

Minister Gray announced that 31 areas in 6 offshore basins would be available for petroleum exploration in Commonwealth waters off the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Victoria. Areas on the North West Shelf off Western Australia again feature prominently and also include the northern Bonaparte Basin.

Area sizes vary from 80 square kilometres to 134 668 square kilometres. The largest release areas are offshore from the Northern Territory and Western Australia in underexplored regions of the Browse Basin, the northern Exmouth Plateau and the offshore northern Perth Basin. Two areas in the Otway and Gippsland basins offshore from Victoria complete the 2013 Acreage Release.

The Australian Government's annual release of offshore petroleum exploration acreage encourages investment and provides open access to comprehensive pre-competitive geological and geophysical data gathered and collated by Geoscience Australia. This data helps industry to make informed investment decisions in relation to its exploration programs.

Geoscience Australia's Dr Tom Bernecker, Senior Geoscientist and leader of the Acreage Release Project, said at the APPEA conference that this year's acreage release was again well supported by multiple industry nominations, signalling a sustained interest in exploring both mature and frontier regions.

"The 2013 Acreage Release also provides opportunities for exploration companies of all sizes in a range of shallow and deep water locations. Many areas are in already producing regions and close to existing infrastructure, while areas in underexplored regions present opportunities for applying innovative exploration concepts," Dr Bernecker said.

New data acquired in the northern Perth Basin as part of Geoscience Australia's recently completed Offshore Energy Security Program supports two key areas in this year's release. This data has been interpreted and integrated with existing datasets to provide a comprehensive assessment of the potential hydrocarbon prospectivity of this offshore frontier. Highlights of this work are being presented by Dr Nadège Rollet and Dr Emma Grosjean at this week's APPEA conference.

Details of the 2013 release can be found on the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism's Acreage Release website.