The Australian Government encourages ongoing investment in, and development of, Australia’s offshore petroleum (oil and gas) resources. The annual Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release (acreage release) is a key part of the strategy to promote offshore oil and gas exploration in Australia.
For over 30 years, the acreage release has provided explorers with a selection of new areas for investment each year. To ensure that Australia remains a competitive investment destination on a global scale, the Australian Government has been considering options to ensure the system of acreage release continues to meet the needs of business, community and government.
Consultation was undertaken in late 2017 on potential alternatives to the annual acreage release system. Consultation feedback indicated that wholesale reform of the process was not needed, however improvements to the efficiency and transparency of the current process would be welcome.
Taking on this feedback the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science is now seeking feedback on a proposal to optimise the annual acreage release for implementation from 2019.