AWE has secured a new exploration permit in offshore Western Australia as part of the Australia 2013 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release.

The new WA-497-P permit, formerly known a release area W13-18, covers an area of 560km² in water depths ranging from 150m to 500m.

Located in the Exmouth Sub-basin of the North Carnarvon basin, the permit is next to the producing Pyrenees, Vincent and Coniston oil fields and north of the Macedon Gas field.

AWE holds 100% equity in the six year exploration permit WA-497-P, and will be the operator.

"Exploration permit WA-497-P contains a number of interesting prospects."

The company applied a new technology to upgrade the prospectivity in its assets such as the Ande Ande Lumut, La Bella and Tui fields has proposed to reprocess the existing permit-wide 3D seismic data in the first year using the same technology.

AWE exploration and geoscience general manager Neil Tupper said in the permit area’s initial review, the company has identified a new play concept in addition to the proven plays in adjacent permits.

"Exploration permit WA-497-P contains a number of interesting prospects that complement AWE’s strength’s in subsurface appraisal and early stage development," Tupper said.

The company has been growing its base of exploration and early stage appraisal assets and is in the process of evaluating opportunities in Australia, New Zealand, as well as Indonesia.

The opportunities include the onshore Perth basin’s unconventional gas potential, the La Bella gas field in the Otway Basin, oil and gas discoveries in the Natuna Sea and the East Java Sea, Indonesia.