2014 Offshore Petroleum Acreage Release announced


Offshore areas released for petroleum exploration as part of the 2014 acreage release.

Overview map showing the
location of the 2014 Australian
Offshore Petroleum Acreage
Release Areas.

The Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane has formally released the latest offshore petroleum exploration areas at the annual Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) conference being held in Perth this week.

Minister Macfarlane announced that 30areas in ten hydrocarbon provinces would be available for petroleum exploration in Commonwealth waters.

This year, the government has introduced cash bidding for four selected areas while the work program bidding process continues to apply for the remaining 26 areas. The 26 work program Release Areas are located in Commonwealth waters offshore Northern Territory and Western Australia, and include a large frontier area covering the Eyre Sub-basin in the Bight Basin.

Four cash bid Release Areas-three in the Northern Carnarvon Basin and one in the Browse Basin-are located in regions adjacent to either producing fields or accumulations under development. The cash bid areas in the Northern Carnarvon Basin include those in shallow water on the Rankin Platform and Barrow Sub-basin, and deep-water on the Exmouth Plateau; the cash bid area in the Browse Basin is located northeast of the Ichthys and Prelude gas fields.

Geoscience Australia's Dr Tom Bernecker, leader of the Acreage Release Project, said at the APPEA conference that all of this year's release areas were supported by industry nominations, indicating sustained interest to explore in both mature basins with hydrocarbon production and in frontier regions.

"The 2014 Acreage Release provides opportunities for exploration companies of all sizes in a range of shallow and deep water locations. Geoscience Australia's new petroleum program will underpin future acreage releases by establishing regional tectonic and stratigraphic frameworks, and further support exploration efforts by studying the occurrence and distribution and maturity of source rocks," Dr Bernecker added.

Details of the 2014 Acreage Release can be found on the Department of Industry's Acreage Release website .

A new publication by Geoscience Australia, the Petroleum Geology Inventory of Australia's Offshore Frontier Basins, has also been released to coincide with the APPEA Conference. The publication presents a comprehensive inventory of the geology, petroleum systems, exploration status and data coverage for 35 frontier basins, sub-basins and provinces located on Australia's continental margin.

Other new Geoscience Australia products include a new set of biostratigraphic charts for the Bight, Browse and Bonaparte basins, and preliminary versions of the newly developed digital dataset of the offshore petroleum block framework and the National Offshore Petroleum Information Management System (NOPIMS), which are on display at the APPEA conference.

Related articles and websites:

Minister Macfarlane's media release
Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release
Geoscience Australia Insights article:
Overview of the 2014 offshore acreage release areas for petroleum exploration