CANBERRA, Australia – Chevron has paid AUD$3 million ($2.3 million) for a cash bid permit for an area offshore Western Australia, Australia’s Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Senator Matt Canavan said. The new permit number is WA-526-P, and secures that area’s exploration rights for the next six years.
The cash-bid auction for the 2016 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release was held on Feb. 2. Two companies prequalified for the auction, according to information from the Australian government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
Chevron was the sole bid received for release area W16-17, located in the Exmouth Plateau, Northern Carnarvon basin. No bids were received over release areas W16-22 and W16-25, located in the Northern Carnarvon basin’s Dampier sub-basin and Exmouth sub-basin, respectively. Those two areas have reverted to vacant acreage.
This was the first cash bid permit to be awarded since the process was re-introduced in 2014, Canavan said.
“The new permit is in a gas-rich part of the Northern Carnarvon basin very close to theGorgon gas project and Pluto LNG, offshore of Western Australia between Onslow and Dampier,” Minister Canavan said. “The awarding of this permit is an important milestone and shows that Australia remains an attractive petroleum exploration investment destination.
“The acreage release process, where petroleum companies are awarded offshore areas for exploration based on the quality and thoroughness of their proposed work plans, has long underpinned successful exploration in Australia.
“However, the 2014 introduction of the cash-bidding system to allocate offshore petroleum exploration permits in mature areas or areas known to contain petroleum accumulations has provided an extra option for industry and immediate returns to the Australian people.”
The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science noted that after “disappointing cash bid auctions as part of the 2014 and 2015 acreage releases, it is encouraging to see an area successfully awarded this year.”
Bidding closes on March 23 for 12 areas released for Round Two work program bidding and 12 re-release areas from Round One as part of the 2016 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release. Round 2 marks the 2016 program’s final round.