CANBERRA, Australia –Australia has awarded 11 new offshore exploration permits following bidding. Some 21 companies bid $800 million for the rights. The areas are in Commonwealth waters off Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory and include four permits in Designated Frontier Areas (DFAs).
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
•Three permits in the Carnarvon basin, off Western Australia, to Woodside Energy Ltd and Hess Exploration (Carnarvon) Pty Ltd; and Gerald Nelson.
Under the work program bidding system, applicants are required to nominate a guaranteed minimum 'dry hole' exploration program for each of the first three years of the permit term and a 'secondary' program for the remaining three years. Each component of the program must be completed in the designated year or earlier. Permits are awarded for an initial term of six years and may be renewed twice for periods of five years.
"The high number of bids and the huge investment companies are prepared to make shows the great interest in Australian offshore petroleum exploration," says Australian Resources Minister, Ian Macfarlane. "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."