Australia's 2020 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage is offering bidders nearly 100,000km2 of acreage contained across five basins

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The Australian 2020 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release will offer 42 areas for bidding. (Credit: Stephen Marrable from Pixabay)

The Australian government has opened up 42 release areas in its territorial waters for bidding by petroleum industry players to pursue oil and gas exploration under the 2020 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage.

According to the government, nearly 100,000km2 of acreage is on offer for the bidders, which are contained across five basins, namely the Bonaparte, Browse, Otway, Northern Carnarvon, and Gippsland basins.

The areas being offered for new oil and exploration opportunities are located offshore of Northern Territory, Victoria, Western Australia, and the Ashmore, and Cartier Islands.

All the areas on offer at the 2020 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage are said to be based on industry nominations. The government further said that the areas were subject to a comprehensive public consultation process and are available for work-programme bidding.

2020 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage expected to help in the recovery of the Australian economy post-Covid-19

The Australian Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources said that the resources sector is a major part of the country’s economy and is well poised to help it recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The bidding process for the 2020 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage will be open for participation until 1 June 2021, said the Australian government.

Australia Minister of Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said that the annual release of acreage is a significant component of the government’s strategy to promote and encourage investment in the exploration of petroleum to benefit the country’s economy.

Pitt added: “I acknowledge the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the oil and gas industry. The government strongly believes exploration will play a key role in helping our economy recover from the pandemic.

“This year’s release is dominated by areas in established oil and gas provinces with existing infrastructure. This is consistent with the drive to ensure major projects have and maintain steady supply into the future.”

In July 2019, the Australia government released 64 areas for oil and gas exploration opportunities in its territorial waters across the same five basins.