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The Australian Government encourages investment in petroleum exploration through an annual Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release. The Acreage Release is comprised of areas that have been nominated for inclusion in the release predominantly by industry participants.  The Acreage Release is underpinned by Australia's stable economic environment and well-established regulatory framework for offshore petroleum activities.

The 2015 Acreage Release comprises twenty-nine (29) areas located across eight basins in Commonwealth waters in the offshore areas of the Northern Territory, the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Western Australia South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. Twenty-three (23) areas are available for work program bidding and six (6) areas are available for cash bidding.

Release areas have been selected to offer the global petroleum exploration industry a variety of investment opportunities. Areas are located in a range of water depths and vary in size and level of existing geological knowledge. All release areas are supported by pre-competitive geological and geophysical data and analysis undertaken by Geoscience Australia, and information on third party rights or other considerations that may impact upon future petroleum activities in a release area.

General and Special Notices

The General and Special Notices provide comprehensive information on third party considerations including environment and heritage protection, native title rights and interests, navigation and maritime safety, fishing activities, defence activities, submarine telecommunication cables, international issues and insurance.



Bids Close

Work Program Round 1
(12 areas)

NT15-1, W15-2, AC15-1, AC15-2, AC15-3, W15-5, W15-13, W15-16, W15-17, W15-18, V15-2, V15-3

Thursday 29 October 2015

Cash Bid Round (6 areas)

NT15-2, W15-1, W15-9, W15-10, W15-11, W15-12


Thursday 15 October 2015

Cash Bid*:

Thursday 4 February 2016

Work Program Round 2
(11 areas)

W15-3, W15-4, W15-6, W15-7, W15-8, W15-14, S15-1, V15-1, T15-1, T15-2, T15-3

Thursday 21 April 2016

* Only prequalified applicants will be invited to submit a cash bid.

Re-release areas

Areas not attracting bids in previous rounds may be provided for bidding as a re-release area.

The following areas are re-released for work program bidding. Further information is available in the Government Gazette Notice.



Bids Close

2014 Round 1 W14-2

Thursday 29 October 2015

2014 Round 2

AC14-1, W14-1W14-6

Thursday 29 October 2015

2015 Round 1 AC15-2, V15-3 Thursday 21 April 2016

2016 Nominations

The nomination period for areas for potential inclusion in the 2016 Acreage Release opened on Monday 18 May 2015 and closed on Friday 31 July 2015.  Please see the nominations page for information on how to nominate an area and the issues taken into consideration by the Australian Government in selecting areas for release.