Australia has opened bidding for the 2021 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release, offering around 80,000 square kilometres for exploration in Commonwealth waters.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said on Tuesday that the release comprises 21 areas across the Bonaparte, Browse, Carnarvon, Otway, Sorell, and Gippsland basins off Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, and Ashmore and Cartier Islands.

The annual Acreage Release is a crucial component of the Government’s gas-fired recovery plan. It is vitally important that Australians have access to reliable and affordable energy both now and in the future.

2021 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release map

I congratulate the oil and gas industry for their management and commitment to exploration and production throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Exploration will continue to play a key role in supporting Australia’s economic growth by encouraging investment in development prospects, as well as unlocking additional supply”, Minister Pitt stated.

According to Pitt, this year’s release provides opportunities in established oil and gas provinces with existing infrastructure as well as under-explored areas offshore Victoria, also within reach of existing infrastructure.

This is consistent with the Government’s policy to deliver current projects as well as the potential to increase supply into the East Coast market.

The continued release of areas for exploration is important to providing a steady supply of energy for the future. I would welcome and encourage industry bidding on the released areas”, Pitt added.

All areas in the 2021 Acreage Release are based on industry nominations and were subject to a public consultation process. All areas are available for work-program bidding. Bidding will close on Thursday, 3 March 2022.

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