WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston invites the industry to bid on eight onshore areas for petroleum exploration in the State, with the blocks located across the Canning, Northern Carnarvon, Amadeus, and Perth Basins — varying in size from 400 to 7,070 square kilometres.
The release provides explorers with new opportunities to invest in WA’s petroleum sector and offers long-term support in developing the State’s oil and gas resources.
Successful applicants may be granted an exploration permit that allows them to conduct exploration activities, within the specified title for a period of six years.
All applications are subject to further approvals by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety before any exploration activity can take place.
The Department conducted a comprehensive assessment of environmental constraints, multiple land use planning, and native title considerations before releasing the blocks.
Hydraulic fracturing will not be authorised within any of the exploration permits.
This will be the only petroleum acreage release for 2023, with the application period closing at 4pm on 19 January 2024.
Australian Energy Producers WA Director Caroline Cherry stated that the exploration for new gas supply is the first step to keeping WA’s energy supplies reliable and affordable.
“New gas supply is critical to the state’s future with demand set to tighten in coming years as gas powers WA’s resources and growing critical minerals sector and supports renewables in the South West electricity system as coal-fired power exits.
“Exploration also unlocks community investment and new jobs in regional areas. This release demonstrates the state’s understanding of the importance of new gas to WA’s net zero future,” said Cherry.
A recent report from Rystad Energy found that access to larger export markets reduced the domestic price required for fields to become commercial while improving access to financing.
The WA Domestic Gas Policy Study highlighted the growing importance of gas in WA and the need for new supply from areas such as the Perth Basin to address near-term market tightness. Significant new supply was also needed to meet growing demand after 2030.
The Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) latest Gas Statement of Opportunities (GSOO) said WA domestic gas demand would rise from 1,099 TJ/day in 2023 to 1,278 TJ/day in 2032.