The State Government of South Australia has announced the successful bids for five new Petroleum Exploration Licences (PELs) with a guaranteed work program valued at $58.85 million over the next five years.
The Department for Energy and Mining said the successful applicants for new PELs in the Cooper Basin are Leigh Creek Energy, Cordillo Energy, Gidgee Energy and Vintage Energy.
Out of the starting blocks
Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan said there were great opportunities to ramp up exploration activities as South Australia’s restrictions due to COVID-19 begin to ease.
“South Australia aims to rebound quickly from the pandemic-led slowdown and petroleum exploration will be a significant contributor to a sharp recovery,” said Minister van Holst Pellekaan.
“The Otway Basin licence is being offered to joint venture partners Beach Energy and Cooper Energy through subsidiary companies. Both companies are experienced explorers and producers in the Otway and their continued interest in the region is a positive result for the state.
“The strong industry response clearly demonstrates the agility and resilience of Australian exploration companies who are keen to get back to business as soon as possible.
Minister van Holst Pellekaan said the department determined the successful bids based on the quality of their five-year work programs, the adequacy of the companies’ financial resources, technical expertise and their ability to meet their commitments and satisfactorily undertake the proposed work.
“The high level of interest in the bidding round for Cooper Basin acreage confirms its sustained reputation as an excellent exploration investment destination,” he said.
“All of the blocks released last year offer a diversity of play types and give the new licence operators the opportunity to build a strong exploration portfolio.
“The next step for the Cooper Basin applicants will be to engage with native title parties and the South Australian government to develop access agreements.
“All licence holders are required to seek further regulatory approval before conducting any exploratory activity on their blocks in an assessment process that provides opportunity for public consultation.
“Approval to commence exploration will only be granted once the regulator is satisfied that all risks to the environment, other land users and the precious water resources are manageable.
“The successful licence holders are required by law to engage meaningfully with relevant landowners, stakeholders and the community during the life of a project, including project planning, negotiating land access and decommissioning,” he said.