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Australia boosts offshore exploration

Posted: 31 July 2007

Australian Resources Minister, Ian Macfarlane, today announced a boost to petroleum exploration in Australian waters, with 11 new offshore permits awarded to exploration companies.

A total of 21 bids were received for the 11 areas and these exploration programs are worth more than $800 million.

"The high number of bids and the huge investment companies are prepared to make shows the great interest in Australian offshore petroleum exploration," Mr Macfarlane said.

"More than $800 million will be invested over the next six years to explore Australian oil and gas opportunities, taking total investment in the 2006 offshore petroleum acreage release to almost $2.2 billion."

The areas are in Commonwealth waters off Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory and include four permits in Designated Frontier Areas (DFAs).

"Companies which take on the greater risk of exploring in DFAs are eligible for favourable tax rates because it is in these unexplored frontier areas that we expect to find major new oil or gas reserves," Mr Macfarlane said.

This year has seen a significant increase in the number of new companies applying to explore in Australian waters.

"It's good to see new players in the market. It demonstrates that the government initiatives to boost exploration are working," Mr Macfarlane said.

The 11 new permits are:

  • Two permits in the Northern Arafura Basin, off Northern Territory, to Samson International (Australia) Pty Ltd;
  • One permit in the Sorell Basin, off Tasmania, to Santos Offshore Pty Ltd;
  • Five permits in the Bonaparte Basin, off Western Australia, to CNOOC Australia E&P Pty Ltd; Total E&P Australia; Goldsborough Energy; and Reliance Industries Ltd; and
  • Three permits in the Carnarvon Basin, off Western Australia, to Woodside Energy Ltd and Hess Exploration (Carnarvon) Pty Ltd; and Gerald Nelson.



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