The Australian government has opened the 2022 offshore exploration permit licensing round with the offer of 10 blocks across four offshore basins.
The areas are open for work program bids with a closing date of Mar. 2, 2023.
The new round comprises:
- Three blocks in Bonaparte basin (2 in Malita Graben subbasin, 1 in Vulcan subbasin).
- Three blocks in Browse basin (2 in Caswell subbasin, 1 in Barcoo subbasin).
- Three blocks in Carnarvon basin (2 in Dampier subbasin, 1 on Exmouth Plateau).
- One block in Gippsland basin.
Caswell subbasin areas include the Argus gas discovery, while the Dampier subbasin release contains several small oil accumulations. Little work has been done in Malita subbasin or Barcoo subbasin, but the Gippsland basin release contains interest in untested potential in deep parts of the stratigraphic column.
At the same time, Australian Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Madeleine King, announced award of two offshore permits with carbon capture and storage (CCS) potential (OGJ Online, Aug. 24, 2022).
A joint venture of INPEX, Woodside Energy, and TotalEnergies has been awarded an area in Bonaparte basin (G-7-AP) and Woodside on its own was awarded G-8-AP in Browse basin.
Award of another three greenhouse gas storage blocks in the CCS round will be made soon.
Australia could be a CCS leader due to its large, stable offshore geological formations for greenhouse gas storage, King said.