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oils aint oil boss

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    Federal Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Ian Macfarlane, has said Australia was still ranked as one of the world’s top five locations for petroleum exploration but a global decline in that area was now starting to impact on Australian activity.

    The Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed expenditure on petroleum exploration declined 11% in the June 2002 quarter.
    Macfarlane said the resources sector had been expecting the downturn and that he had responded with several initiatives to address the problem.


    " I can announce six new petroleum exploration permits, expected to generate about A$98 million in exploration activities, have been awarded in Commonwealth waters off the Northern Territory and West Australian coasts," Macfarlane said.


    The permits have been awarded as follows:


    * In the Carnarvon Basin to Octanex NL, Strata Resources NL;

    * In the Browse Basin to Rawson Resources NL, Eagle Bay Resources NL, Icon Energy Ltd and Rough Range Oil Pty Ltd;


    * In the Bonaparte Basin to National Oil & Gas Pty Ltd, Australian Natural Gas Pty Ltd and Nations Natural Gas Pty Ltd.


    "An active exploration industry is critical to Australia avoiding a reliance on fuel imports in the future. Many of our vast offshore sedimentary basins are under-explored but this should not be confused with being un-prospective," Macfarlane said.


    "While recent figures for mineral exploration are encouraging we are now actively investigating what issues are holding back further investment in both mineral and petroleum exploration through a number of different avenues. There’s an industry Action Agenda and a Standing Committee inquiry into changes needed to promote further investment," he said.

    "These are not committees for the sake of talking about the industry’s challenges, I expect to be able to develop a plan of attack to improve investment and maintain Australia’s status as the world’s least risky country in which to do mining business," Macfarlane said.

    Applications for the areas were invited under the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967 and closed on 11 April 2002.


    Under the work program bidding system, applicants are required to nominate a guaranteed minimum 'dry hole' exploration program for each of the first three years of the permit term and a 'secondary' program for the remaining three years.

    Each component of the program must be completed in the designated year or earlier. Permits are awarded for an initial term of six years.

    Carnarvon Basin


    Permit WA-329-P (originally released as area W01-14) has been awarded to Octanex NL (50%, operator) and Strata Resources NL (50%) which proposed a guaranteed program for the first three years of data review, purchase of 3D seismic data and geoscience studies, and 750km of 2D seismic acquisition at an estimated cost of A$1.75m.

    The companies also proposed a secondary program of one well, studies and data review at an estimated cost of A$18.6m. There were no other bids for the area.


    Permit WA-330-P (originally released as area W00-53) has been awarded to Octanex NL (50%, operator) and Strata Resources NL (50%). The permittees proposed a guaranteed program for the first three years of data review, 240km2 3D seismic reprocessing, a 400km 2D seismic survey and studies at an estimated cost of A$1.4m.

    The companies also proposed a secondary program of one well and geoscience studies at an estimated cost of $18.6m. There were no other bids for the area.


    Browse Basin


    Permit WA-331-P (originally released as area W01-9) has been awarded to Rawson Resources NL (25%, operator), Eagle Bay Resources NL (25%), Icon Energy Ltd (25%) and Rough Range Oil Pty Ltd (25%). The permittees proposed a guaranteed program for the first three years of a 300 km 2D seismic survey, 400 km seismic reprocessing and studies at an estimated cost of A$1.35m. The companies also proposed a secondary program of 2 wells and studies at an estimated cost of A$6.4m. There were no other bids for the area.


    Bonaparte Basin


    NT/P62 (originally released as area NT01-3) has been awarded to National Oil & Gas Pty Ltd (35%, operator), Australian Natural Gas Pty Ltd (35%), Nations Natural Gas Pty Ltd (30%) which proposed a guaranteed program for the first three years of 500km 2D seismic survey and geoscience studies at an estimated cost of A$1.15m.

    The companies also proposed a secondary program of one well and studies at an estimated cost of A$15.45m. There were no other bids for the area.


    NT/P63 (originally released as area NT01-4) has been awarded to National Oil & Gas Pty Ltd (35%, operator), Australian Natural Gas Pty Ltd (35%), Nations Natural Gas Pty Ltd (30%), which proposed a guaranteed program for the first three years of 500km 2D seismic survey and geoscience studies at an estimated cost of A$1.15m. The companies also proposed a secondary program of one well and studies at an estimated cost of A$15.45m. There were no other bids for the area.


    NT/P64 (originally released as area NT01-5) has been awarded to National Oil & Gas Pty Ltd (35%, operator), Australian Natural Gas Pty Ltd (35%), Nations Natural Gas Pty Ltd (30%), which proposed a guaranteed program for the first three years of 500km 2D seismic survey and geoscience studies at an estimated cost of A$1.15m.

    The companies also proposed a secondary program of one well and studies at an estimated cost of A$15.45m. There were no other bids for the area.


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