2021 offshore petroleum exploration acreage release

Date published:
15 June 2021

There are 21 release areas available for offshore oil and gas exploration. They are offshore of Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and the Ashmore and Cartier Islands

The annual acreage release offers the petroleum industry a variety of investment opportunities. 

Industry nominated the release areas. Then we consulted with the public, governments and stakeholders to determine the final release. View feedback from stakeholders provided during public consultation.

See how to bid on these areas.

Applicants are required to complete the NOPTA's new work-bid petroleum exploration permit application form.

Bidding on these areas is open until Thursday 3 March 2022.

This map of Australia shows the 2021 acreage release areas offshore of Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and the Ashmore and Cartier Islands. The map shows the shapes of the new acreage blocks in orange.

Explore acreage release areas 

See regional geology, high resolution maps, block diagrams and block listings for:

Bonaparte and Browse Basin

There are 4 release areas in the Bonaparte and Browse Basin, offshore Northern Australia.

Northern Carnarvon Basin

There are 8 release areas in the Northern Carnarvon Basin, offshore Western Australia.

Otway and Sorell Basin

There are 7 release areas in the Otway and Sorell Basin, offshore Victoria and Tasmania.

Gippsland Basin

There are 2 release areas in the Gippsland Basin, offshore Victoria. These are both located in the Eastern Gippsland Basin.

Access key files and supporting data

See the Australian Government gazette notice inviting applications for the 2021 acreage release.

Download a booklet of all release area maps [4.62MB PDF]

Download shapefiles in vector (GIS) format [87KB ZIP]

See Geoscience Australia’s geological information for this release.

View the areas on the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator’s (NOPTA) interactive map. Areas can be viewed against:

Access data on the release areas via the National Offshore Petroleum Information Management System (NOPIMS) and Geoscience Australia’s Acreage Release portal.

Geoscience Australia partnered with us to provide geological information to support this release. Maps and field outlines are from GPinfo, a Petrosys Pty Ltd product, and are accurate as at 4 June 2021.

Foreign investment

Foreign investors should familiarise themselves with Australia’s foreign investment framework. Failure to comply with the law may result in penalties.

Applicants are responsible for obtaining any relevant Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approvals.

They are to submit evidence of a FIRB approval with the application. If FIRB approval is pending, applicants can provide evidence after the submission.

NOPTA will not offer an exploration permit until it has received the required FIRB approvals.

See foreign investment for mining requirements on the FIRB website.

General enquiries should be sent to firbenquiries@treasury.gov.au.


The Australian Government has enhanced the framework for decommissioning offshore infrastructure. See how the framework will be implemented throughout 2021-22.

Existing requirements continue to apply. See the offshore petroleum decommissioning guideline on NOPTA’s website.

NOPSEMA has published information on its decommissioning strategy and operational policies.

Other marine users

Petroleum exploration activities must not interfere with:

  • navigation
  • fishing
  • conservation of the resources of the sea and seabed
  • enjoyment of native title rights and interests (within the meaning of the Native Title Act 1993).

Titleholders are to consult with other marine users before commencing activities.

Defence Restricted Areas

Areas may coincide with offshore Defence Restricted Areas and restricted airspace. See notice to airmen and notice to mariners for current restrictions.

Unexploded ordnance (UXO) may be present on or in the sea floor. The Department of Defence has identified areas with potential UXO in the UXO mapping application.