Commonwealth asks industry to nominate new offshore blocks

NOMINATIONS for the 2020 offshore petroleum exploration acreage release will close at the end of this month.
Commonwealth asks industry to nominate new offshore blocks Commonwealth asks industry to nominate new offshore blocks Commonwealth asks industry to nominate new offshore blocks Commonwealth asks industry to nominate new offshore blocks Commonwealth asks industry to nominate new offshore blocks

Paul Hunt

Senior Journalist: Oil & Gas, Policy.

Paul Hunt

The annual offshore acreage release is part of the government's strategy to promote investment in offshore oil and gas exploration.

The federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science this week called on industry, again, to nominate new blocks for the acreage release.

Stakeholders now have until January 31 to help shape the future auction of offshore blocks. There are no restrictions on the number of nominations an applicant can put forward.

"Nominated areas are considered for release against government objectives and consultation outcomes," DIIS said on its website.

"Nominations should demonstrate a genuine intent to start activities in the immediate term."

Stakeholders must either represent an oil and gas exploration and production company or represent a geophysical company with data products nominated over the area available.

The nomination process is separate to the 2019 Offshore Petroleum Acreage Release which remains open for bids until March 5.

The release is comprised of 64 areas across five sedimentary basins in Commonwealth waters offshore the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Victoria and the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands.

In total more than 120,000sq.km of acreage is now available in the current auction.

The 2019 release was launched in August last year. At the time, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan acknowledged the release was "heavily concentrated in the north-west."

This is the first release of areas under a new streamlined acreage release model.

Under the new guideline the process for bidding has changed from an emphasis on cash bidding to work program bidding, meaning awards are more dependent on the type of work program rather than the level of capital expenditure on development.

In November last year, the National offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA) - which governs offshore oil and gas leases and permits - released its annual report, noting a "marked upturn" in exploration drilling activity in Commonwealth waters.

Along with the increase in exploration wells, came an increase in appraisal and development drilling activity as the industry moved into a phase of resource maturation, a trend NOPTA said would continue this year.

 

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