Australia releases 29 areas for offshore exploration bidding

The Australian government has released a total of 29 areas for bidding in the 2015 offshore acreage release across eight basins in the Northern Territory, Ashmore Cartier Islands region, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, and Tasmania.

The Australian government has released a total of 29 areas for bidding in the 2015 offshore acreage release across eight basins in the Northern Territory, Ashmore Cartier Islands region, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, and Tasmania.

Twenty three areas are available for work program bidding and six are available for cash bidding. Another three areas in the offshore Western Australia and Ashmore Cartier areas are rereleased from the 2014 program as they garnered no bids last year.

Bidding will close for the first 12 blocks by Oct. 29. The cash bid blocks will close on Feb. 4, 2016. The second round of 10 blocks will close in April 2016.

Most notable of the cash bid areas are W15-1 and NT15-2 in the Bonaparte basin that contain the small Turtle oil and gas field and the small Barnett oil field. These were previously held by Tangier Petroleum, which defined a number of large targets, but was unable to meet work commitments. Tangiers was stripped of these areas in 2013.

First round work program areas include an area also in the Bonaparte basin in the vicinity of the Petrel, Tern, Frigate, Penguin, and Blacktip gas fields.

Other areas are near the Bayu-Undan gas field and the Cash-Maple gas fields in the Timor Sea.

Of equal interest is a block in the frontier Rowley Sub-basin of the Roebuck basin northwest of the recent Phoenix South-1 oil find.

Other frontier blocks are in the Ceduna sub-basin of the Bight basin in South Australia, the Nelson Sub-basin of the Otway basin of Victoria and Tasmania, and the Sorrel basin off western Tasmania.

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