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Aust's 2006 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage

Release Of The 2006 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage

In an announcement coinciding with the 2006 Australian Petroleum and Exploration Association (APPEA) conference, the Australian Government has released 36 new offshore petroleum exploration areas in Commonwealth waters.

Australian Resources Minister, Ian Macfarlane, announced the release in conjunction with the conference, held on the Gold Coast.

“The release of these exploration areas is key to the Government’s strategy to encourage more petroleum exploration in Australia’s vast offshore sedimentary basins. We’re already seeing strong interest in Australia’s offshore petroleum basins but they remain under-explored.”

“As these areas cover a wide range of basins and play types, they offer exciting opportunities for petroleum explorers. Australian now has a record number of a record number of exploration permits, with more than 180 awarded in Commonwealth waters,” said Mr Macfarlane.

The new areas announced today as ‘open for bidding’ include:

• Twenty areas off Western Australia
• Five areas off the Northern Territory
• Five areas off Tasmania
• Four areas off Victoria
• Two areas off the Ashmore and Cartier Islands

“This year’s release includes six Designated Frontier Areas that attract the 150% Petroleum Resource Rent Tax frontier concession which is providing a real taxation incentive to investigate new offshore areas,” said Mr Macfarlane.

Bids for 22 of the new areas will close on 9 November 2006, and the remaining 14 areas will close on 10 May 2007. All bids will be assessed under the Work Program Bidding System. Exploration permits will be awarded for an initial term of six years.

“The hard work of petroleum explorers in offshore Australia is paying off,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“New gas projects will soon supply LNG to a growing number of international customers in Asia and North America. While, domestically, our gas consumption is also set to increase about 67 percent by 2020 which augurs well for local suppliers,” he said.

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