This week the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator approved two applications submitted by Bight Petroleum to extend two permits, EPP41 and EPP42, in the Duntroon Sub-basin within the Great Australian Bight.
According to the approval documents, the authority has suspended previous work commitments for 24 months, but after that Bight Petroleum will still need to acquire seismic, geological and geophysical studies, and drill a total of three exploration wells across the two permits.
Proposed 3D seismic will cover both shallow water and deepwater prospective targets.
Both permits were initially granted to Bight Petroleum in 2011 as part of the 2010 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release, and with the extensions will now expire in June 2024.
Combined the two licenses stretch across 8,514sq.km within the frontier region of the Duntroon Sub-Basin, which Bight Petroleum said was one of the world's largest under-explored late Cretaceous basins.
The permits sit in water depths ranging from 120 metres to 1600m to the west of Kangaroo Island.
"The geology, and the prospective potential in both shallow and deeper water environments, make these blocks high impact exploration candidates within easy reach of the South Australia coast and existing infrastructures," Bight Petroleum says on its website.
The permits are close to shore and infrastructure that would allow quick tie into gas-hungry east coast markets.
In May 2012, the local Kangaroo Island Council - then led by activist mayor Peter Clements - provided a submission to a parliamentary inquiry into drilling in the Great Australian Bight expressing the council's concerns over Bight Petroleum's intentions to explore for oil and gas nearby.
Since then Mayor Clements has left the council and the new mayor Michael Pengilly has publicly endorsed oil and gas exploration off the coast of South Australia.
Speaking to Energy News yesterday, mayor Pengilly said he was "quite confident" with the ability of the natural regulator NOPSEMA and industry in conducting exploration and production.
"The previous mayor Clements acted like a pork chop. But we have no motion on the books against oil and gas," Pengilly said.
Pengilly's predecessor went to Equirnor's annual general meeting last year in Oslo, Norway, to protest the oiler's plans for exploration well Stromlo-1.
"We need oil and gas. Good on industry, I say."