Offshore Petroleum Exploration in Australia

The Australian Government administers policy which encourages petroleum exploration in Australia's offshore areas.

The Department strives to provide a stable, transparent and internationally competitive offshore exploration investment regime. Each year, following consultation with stakeholders, the department releases offshore petroleum exploration acreage for competitive bidding by prospective explorers.

The annual Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release is a key part of the Australian Government’s strategy to encourage further petroleum exploration in Australia’s offshore waters. The regular release of acreage enables industry to undertake longer term planning and provides certainty in the release process.

Information on the current acreage that is open for bidding is available from the Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage website.

The department also manages, in partnership with the states and the Northern Territory, the assessment of applications and the award of exploration permits. The primary objective in awarding an exploration permit is to select the bid most likely to achieve the fullest assessment of the petroleum potential within the permit area in the minimum guaranteed period of the permit. Following discovery of a petroleum resource, the successful explorer will have the right to produce the resource and to construct pipelines and other infrastructure, subject to development approvals to ensure appropriate regard to safety, the environment and good oil field practice.

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