US oil major Chevron has picked up a new exploration permit in a "gas-rich" part of the Carnarvon Basin, offshore western Australia.
Chevron paid US$2.3 million (A$3 million) for the cash bid permit WA-526-P, which will last six years.
“The new permit is in a gas-rich part of the Northern Carnarvon Basin very close to the Gorgon gas project and Pluto LNG, offshore of Western Australia between Onslow and Dampier,” Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Senator Matt Canavan said.
The cash-bid auction was re-introduced in Australian in 2014 but hasn't until now resulted in any cash-bid permits being awarded. This latest cash-bid auction was held on 2 February 2017. Two companies prequalified for the auction. At the close of the auction only one bid was received for release area W16-7, which became Exploration Permit WA-526-P when it was awarded to Chevron Australia New Ventures.
Map of Gorgon area, courtesy of Chevron.
The remaining cash bid areas, W16-22 and W16-25, did not receive bids and have reverted to vacant acreage.
Canavan added that awarding the cash bid permit showed Australia remained an attractive petroleum exploration investment destination, outside of the traditional acreage release process. The cash bidding process is focused on mature areas where only minimal further exploration may be required.
Meanwhile, the final round of the 2016 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release will close on 23 March 2017.
Image: Chevron's Gorgon site off Barrow Island.