WA oil and gas explorers get some reprieve

THE Western Australian state government is offering some reprieve to domestic oil and gas explorers, suspending, and extending, work program commitments.
WA oil and gas explorers get some reprieve WA oil and gas explorers get some reprieve WA oil and gas explorers get some reprieve WA oil and gas explorers get some reprieve WA oil and gas explorers get some reprieve

Paul Hunt

Senior Journalist: Oil & Gas, Policy.

Paul Hunt

Today the WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety said it would do its utmost to help junior explorers and larger producers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and oil price crash. 

Under the new temporary measures, affected titleholders can apply for the suspension of work program commitments on "force majeure grounds" relating to COVID-19. 

Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Operators will need to submit their applications no less than three months prior to the end of a title's permit and will need to provide "compelling evidence" that work programs have been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Applications will not be considered on the grounds of COVID-19 where work commitments should have been completed prior to the declaration of Western Australia's State of Emergency on 15 March 2020," DMIRS said in a notice today. 

The DMIRS guidance comes a week after the WA state Minister for Mines and Petroleum Bill Johnston acknowledged the "significant impacts" on oil and gas companies amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"The State Government acknowledges that the measures taken by various levels of government to restrict the spread of COVID-19 will challenge the sector in a way that hasn't been seen before," Johnston said. 

"Industry is already reporting the impacts COVID-19 is having on planned work programs." 

In April Perth-basin miner and gas explorer Mineral Resources submitted a force majeur claim "to cover all exploration programs" due to the virus outbreak. 

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