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The Australian Government has released new acreages to allow companies to explore offshore oil and gas resources in a bid to meet the country’s future domestic energy needs.

The 2018 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release covers six basins offshore Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, and the Ashmore and Cartier Islands.

Under the plan, companies will be able to submit bids for 21 areas, which offer options ranging from well-known, petroleum-producing basins to frontier basins.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matthew Canavan said: “The Australian Government is committed to the safe and responsible development of oil and gas resources.

“Offshore oil and gas exploration is vital to meeting Australia’s future energy needs.

“Offshore oil and gas exploration is vital to meeting Australia’s future energy needs.”

“The annual Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release is a key part of our plan to promote investment in new offshore exploration.”

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By GlobalData

In order to reform acreage release, the government is holding consultations with relevant stakeholders.

Canavan noted that the proposed reforms will make future acreage releases more responsive to market demand.

Additionally, the government intends to pursue its reform agenda to improve transparency of consultation processes and simplify bidding rounds.

Of the 21 areas, 16 are available for work programme bidding and the remaining five for cash bidding.

The areas under the release are located in water depths of 15m to 4,534m, while their size varies between 80km² and 12,128km².