Petroleum explorer Bass Strait Oil has secured National Offshore Petroleum Titles Authority (NOPTA) approval for a 12-month suspension and extension for its Vic/P68 permit in offshore Australia.

Located in the prolific Gippsland basin, the permit is in its third year of the six-year term at present.

Covering 225km² of 3D seismic, the Year 3 programme will expire on 3 November 2016 following the extension approval.

The company sought modification of the work programme to allow an aggregation of seismic work with other operators to cut survey costs.

"The company sought modification of the work programme to allow an aggregation of seismic work with other operators to cut survey costs."

Within the Emperor Formation, the continuing process has identified a gas exploration play in Vic/P68 that is similar to the Longtom gas field.

Bass has also identified various follow-up oil targets on trend with its wholly owned Leatherjacket oil discovery contained within the permit.

Drilled by Esso in 1986, Leatherjacket discovered an oil column of more than 82ft in the upper LaTrobe group.

Bass Strait Oil Company executive director Tino Guglielmo said: "The grant of the work programme extension not only reduces the company’s near term funding obligations, but provides the opportunity to mature these play types, prospects and leads which are likely to attract interest from potential farminees wanting low-risk and low-cost opportunities to enter the east coast gas market.

"The company remains of the view that its asset position in the Gippsland basin will become increasingly more relevant as the evaluation of the portfolio continues and domestic markets for east coast gas, in particular, seeks new and emerging gas prospects close to markets."

Bass owns 100% equity interest in the Vic/P68 permit.