Norwegian energy firm Statoil has secured a permit to explore oil and gas off the north-west coast of Australia.

The permit is Statoil’s third asset in the country and was awarded by Australia’s National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA) via the 2013 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release.

This approval adds to the onshore operatorship in the Northern Territory’s South Georgina basin and four BP-operated offshore permits in the Great Australian Bight.

The WA-506-P permit covers an area of more than 13,000km² in water depths of up to 2,000m.

Statoil will collect 2,000 line kilometres of 2D seismic and 3,500km² of 3D seismic data within three years.

The company will decide on further steps based on analysis of the data.

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By GlobalData
"The WA-506-P permit covers an area of more than 13,000km² in water depths of up to 2,000m."

Statoil senior vice-president for exploration in the eastern hemisphere Erling Vågnes said: "This award adds another large acreage position with high-impact potential to our global portfolio, in-line with our exploration strategy.

"This is an untested part of a prolific basin, offering significant upside potential.

"This work programme offers the necessary flexibility for such a frontier area and is supported by Australia’s stable regulatory framework and attractive fiscal terms."

Statoil, which has been operating in Australia for the last four years, said that other parts of the Northern Carnarvon Basin already have large proven volumes of gas.

The basin has several fields in production and an established infrastructure.

Image: The Northern Territory’s South Georgina basin has significant upside potential. Photo: courtesy of Statoil.