Bidding open for onshore energy exploration



Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy Tom Koutsantonis said today bids have been opened for two new onshore petroleum exploration licences in the Otway and Cooper basins.

Mr Koutsantonis said previously offered acreage in the Cooper Basin in the State's Far North attracted bids with a combined exploration expenditure of more than $52 million.

Similarly, previously offered acreage in the Otway Basin in the State's South East attracted bids with a combined exploration expenditure worth more than $40 million.

"Cooper Basin is Australia's largest and most mature onshore oil and gas province, supplying major south-eastern markets with gas for more than 40 years and oil since 1982," Mr Koutsantonis said.

"Otway Basin is regarded as the State's second most prospective onshore oil and gas province."

The Cooper Basin block on offer (CO2012-A) covers 392 square kilometres adjacent to the western margin of the province. It comprises two areas close to the western margin of the Cooper Basin where numerous oil accumulations have been discovered in recent years.

The Otway Basin block on offer (OT2012-A) covers 5,657 square kilometres capturing parts of the Penola, Robe and St Clair rift troughs.

Several prospective fields, including the recent Jacaranda Ridge discovery and the Killanoola oil accumulation, are both located within the Penola trough.

Gas has been produced and processed from eight fields in the Penola Trough since 1991.

Mr Koutsantonis said bids for the two blocks close Thursday 4 April 2013 with winners expected to be announced at the next APPEA conference in May 2013.

Winning bidders will need to prepare an Environmental Impact Report and an associated Statement of Environmental Objectives, before applying for activity approval, or giving notice of entry for on ground activities.

"The offer of two new blocks coincides with progress being made toward finalising a Road Map for developing South Australia's unconventional gas resources," he said.

"This Road Map is a major step toward attracting hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, of investment to South Australia that will underpin the renaissance of the Cooper Basin."