Permits have been granted to Beach Energy Limited and Bridgeport Energy Limited to explore for gas in waters near Portland and Port Campbell in Victoria.
Beach and Bridgeport are required to work closely with the commercial fishing industry, local communities and government bodies along the south-west coast as they conduct their exploration programs.
The offshore gas resources can be accessed from onshore without any disturbance of the marine environment. The new permits are on the doorstep of Beach’s existing Halladale-Speculant facility and its Enterprise exploration project.
Bridgeport Energy Limited CEO, Chris Way said Bridgeport has patiently held onshore oil and gas tenements throughout the 3 ½ year moratorium period, aware that at some point there would be a need to provide gas to Victoria from this area.
“With the grant of this tenement and lifting of the moratorium we can now go about our business safely, efficiently and with utmost environmental care to explore for and we hope develop conventional gas resources in this area.”
The Victorian Gas Program recently identified potentially significant onshore conventional gas resources particularly in the Otway Basin, resulting in the restart of the onshore conventional gas industry in 2021. Onshore unconventional gas including fracking is permanently banned in Victoria. Any new gas found will be prioritised for domestic use, boosting the state’s energy supply and security.
If initial exploration is successful, the Victorian Government notes that up to $85 million could flow into the economy, contributing to further investment in the region and new local jobs. The benefits will be magnified if the new exploration leads to additional gas supply.
Victorian Minister for Resources, Jaclyn Symes said: “We’re encouraging safe and sensible gas exploration that brings jobs and investment to our regions as well as additional supply for homes and businesses.”
“This industry interest backs the extensive geoscience of the Victorian Gas Program, showing there’s a good chance of boosting local gas supply while maintaining protection of our precious natural environment,” she commented.