Petroleum exploration approved in S Australia
Mining News Pro - The South Australian government this week announced the successful bids for five new petroleum exploration licenses.

The five licenses have a guaranteed work programme valued at a combined A$58.85-million over the next five years, Energy and Mining Minister Dan von Holst Pellekaan said.

“South Australia aims to rebound quickly from the pandemic-led slowdown and petroleum exploration will be a significant contributor to a sharp recovery,” said Van Holst Pellekaan.

“The Otway Basin licence is being offered to joint venture partners Beach Energy and Cooper Energy through subsidiary companies. Both companies are experienced explorers and producers in the Otway and their continued interest in the region is a positive result for the state.

“The strong industry response clearly demonstrates the agility and resilience of Australian exploration companies who are keen to get back to business as soon as possible.”

The Minister said the department determined the successful bids based on the quality of their five-year work programs, the adequacy of the companies’ financial resources, technical expertise and their ability to meet their commitments and satisfactorily undertake the proposed work.

“The high level of interest in the bidding round for Cooper Basin acreage confirms its sustained reputation as an excellent exploration investment destination,” he said.

“All of the blocks released last year offer a diversity of play types and give the new licence operators the opportunity to build a strong exploration portfolio.

“The next step for the Cooper Basin applicants will be to engage with native title parties and the South Australian government to develop access agreements. All licence holders are required to seek further regulatory approval before conducting any exploratory activity on their blocks in an assessment process that provides opportunity for public consultation.

“Approval to commence exploration will only be granted once the regulator is satisfied that all risks to the environment, other land users and the precious water resources are manageable.

“The successful licence holders are required by law to engage meaningfully with relevant landowners, stakeholders and the community during the life of a project, including project planning, negotiating land access and decommissioning,” he said.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (Appea) has welcomed the announce of the successful bids, with CEO Andrew McConville saying the allocation continued the state’s decades-long tradition of developing its onshore oil and gas fields, and was doing its share to meet Australia’s growing energy needs.

“South Australia should be congratulated for continuing to see the economic benefits that flow to their communities from developing and using natural gas, especially in these challenging times,” McConville said.

“It’s encouraging to see the oil and gas industry continuing to supply natural gas to domestic customers, including manufacturers to help support local jobs and economic growth.”

Beach and Cooper were awarded acreage over areas of 1 923 km2 in the Otway Basin in the South East, building on their existing exploration activities in the region. Vintage and three other companies were awarded acreage over a total area of 13 582 km2 in the Cooper Basin.