Welcome to the 2016 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release

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The Australian Government encourages investment in petroleum exploration through an annual Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release. The 2016 acreage release is comprised of areas that have been nominated by industry. The acreage release is underpinned by Australia's stable economic environment and well-established regulatory framework for offshore petroleum activities.

The 2016 acreage release comprises 28 areas located across five basins in Commonwealth waters offshore of the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands and Western Australia, 25 areas are available for work program bidding and three areas for cash bidding.

Areas have been selected to offer the global petroleum exploration industry a variety of investment opportunities. The areas are located in a range of water depths and vary in size and level of existing geological knowledge. All 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.

Further information on the release areas and the basins of interest, is available by following the links in the menu on the left hand side.

Overview map of the 2016 release areas

2016 release areas and closing rounds


Release areas

Closing date for bids

Round one - work program

AC16-1, AC16-2, W16-1, W16-3, W16-8, W16-10, W16-11, W16-13, W16-15, W16-16, W16-19, W16-20, W16-21

Closed - Thursday 8 December 2016

Cash bid prequalification

W16-17, W16-22, W16-25

Closed - Thursday 20 October 2016

Cash bid auction*

W16-17, W16-22, W16-25

Closed - Thursday 2 February 2017

Round two - work program

AC16-3, AC16-4, W16-2, W16-4, W16-5, W16-6, W16-9, W16-12,
W16-14, W16-18, W16-23, W16-24

Closed - Thursday 23 March 2017

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

Re-release areas

Areas that do not attract bids in a previous round, may be re-released for further consideration by industry. The following areas have been re-released and published in the Australian Government Gazette.

Initial bidding round

Re-release areas

Closing date for bids

2016 round one - work program

AC16-1, AC16-2, W16-1, W16-3, W16-10, W16-11, W16-13, W16-15, W16-16, W16-19, W16-20, W16-21

Closed - Thursday 23 March 2017

General and Special Notices

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