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2011 Petroleum Offshore Exploration Acreage Release

2012 Release Nominations

Call for Industry Nominations of Areas

The area nomination process for the 2012 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release (Acreage Release) will open on 11 April 2011 and close on 29 July 2011.

Industry stakeholders are invited to nominate vacant offshore areas to be considered for release in 2012. The sustainable annual release of quality petroleum exploration acreage, to provide the global petroleum exploration industry with a variety of investment opportunities in Australian waters, is a key objective of the Australian Government.

Release areas are carefully selected to offer a range of investment opportunities; areas selected for inclusion in the Acreage Release will vary in size, known prospectivity, water depth and level of existing geological data and knowledge.

Wherever possible, the Government seeks to ensure that selected areas are supported by pre-competitive geological and geophysical data and analysis undertaken by Geoscience Australia.

Details of the nomination process

Nomination fact sheet [PDF, 412KB] [DOC, 38KB]

A nomination form template [PDF, 121KB] [DOC, 35KB] has been introduced to increase the efficiency of the process.  Nominations must be submitted on this template.

All nominations are treated as "Commercial-in-Confidence" and should be submitted electronically to the Joint Authority at petroleum.exploration@ret.gov.au by 29 July 2011.

Received nominations will be acknowledged by return email.  It is the responsibility of the nominee to follow up if confirmation is not received. 

Whilst an electronic copy is required and will suffice as a nomination, should company's wish, they may also forwarded hard copies of their nominations to:

The Manager
Exploration, Resources Division
Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism
GPO Box 1564
Canberra ACT 2601

and to the relevant State/Territory Department.



Noting the Australian Government's objective of a sustainable, annual petroleum exploration acreage release offering quality exploration investment opportunities it is possible that nominated areas may not be included in the 2012 Acreage Release.

All nominations are, however, considered seriously and are subjected to a rigorous assessment and short listing process, which may take into account factors such as:

  • previous interest in, and exploration undertaken, in the nominated areas;
  • whether there is a new geoscientific story or a new market development, such as domestic demand changes or an opportunity for early field commercialisation, that might generate the interest of potential bidders;
  • any potential adverse impact on current offshore petroleum exploration acreage release areas bidding rounds;
  • ongoing pre-competitive studies by Geoscience Australia - it is Government practice to allow pre-competitive geoscientific data collection programs to conclude prior to the release of acreage; and
  • international maritime boundary negotiations.


Industry will be advised of a proposed short list of areas for inclusion in the 2012 Acreage Release through the December issue of Australian Petroleum News.

Proposed areas remain subject to change until the acreage release is launched by the Australian Resources and Energy Minister. 

Please note: any decision to undertake offshore petroleum activities or forward planning on the assumption that a nominated area will be included in the 2012 acreage release prior to the official launch by the Minister is a commercial decision for individual operators.

If you wish to be added to the Australian Petroleum News distribution list or have any questions on the nomination process please email: petroleum.exploration@ret.gov.au or phone +61 2 6213 7920