MELBOURNE, Aug. 14 -- The Australian government has established a $135 million (Aus.) energy incentive package designed to boost petroleum exploration activity in the country.
Federal Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane said $76.4 million (Aus.) will be used to expand Geoscience, Australia's precompetitive data gathering program. Over the next 5 years, the government agency will acquire data in more than 2 million sq km off Australia's coast. This is three times the area covered in the previous 5-year program.
An additional $58.9 million (Aus.) will be spent to enable Geoscience to embark on pioneering research to better understand the potential in onshore Australian basins. This will be done through the latest geophysical imaging and mapping technologies.
Macfarlane said, "The government will be taking serious steps to reduce the red-tape burden on the petroleum exploration industry, particularly in making frontier basin exploration more attractive."
He acknowledged that Australia remains mostly unexplored, and encouraging exploration has been made a high priority in terms of future energy security and export markets.
"Australia cannot divorce itself from the global energy markets. We have to adjust our strategy at various times in the global cycle," he said. "The new package is aimed at capturing serious, long-term investment in Australia by explorers."