Queensland’s state government has begun its controversial program of cash bidding for coal seam gas blocks with the first two permits up for bids. Expressions of interest for competitive cash bidding tenders are scheduled to close Feb. 14, 2013.
Both blocks are in the Surat basin, one 8 km west of Miles and the other, 8 km southeast of Condamine.
Both areas are surrounded by existing petroleum exploration and production licenses and associated systems. The government believes the two blocks potentially contain some of the highest quality gas reserves in Queensland.
Preferred tenders will be recommended by an evaluation panel of senior officers from the state’s Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Projects Queensland and the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, and Planning.
Despite the move to cash bidding there will still be noncash land releases in greenfield and underexplored areas in the state.
Industry groups oppose the cash bidding system saying it will simply reduce the pool of funds that companies can devote to exploration. They add that it also is unclear how the various bids will be assessed and says it is important for there to be a high degree of transparency to obtain any bidder confidence in the process.