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20 Feb 2019

Good response to offshore gas tender

Tenders closed on Friday for five offshore gas exploration areas in state waters, from Port Campbell to the South Australian border.

A good response has been received from the gas industry and Earth Resources Regulation will now be assessing proposals ahead of selecting preferred tenderers.

The assessment includes determining the technical and financial capability of the explorers, their past performance in Australia and overseas, and a detailed review of their proposed exploration plans.

South-west Victoria is considered to have the highest potential for new discoveries of natural gas.

The exploration process will look to see what gas might be present and how it could be extracted – there's no guarantees gas resources will be identified.

Initial exploration activities, which could start later in 2019, include geoscientific assessment, desktop analysis, modelling and mapping.

Strict environmental controls are required and consultation with local communities will be undertaken if further exploration activities are required.

Marine Parks are excluded from the offshore acreage release. No activities will be allowed that disrupt annual whale migration.

If new gas resources are found and the gas can be extracted safely, it will underpin opportunities for new jobs and business opportunities in the area, as well be a boost for local industry.

Accessing new gas resources in State waters would most likely be done from onshore, several hundred metres below the sea bed without any disturbance of the marine environment.

Onshore drilling to access offshore gas has been successfully used for many years in the Peterborough area.

Onshore unconventional gas extraction and fracking are banned in Victoria. The onshore conventional gas moratorium remains in place until 2020.

Quotes attributable to Executive Director of Earth Resources Regulation Anthony Hurst:

“A thorough assessment will be made to determine if suitable tenderers should be granted gas exploration permits in state waters.”

“We aim to make an announcement later in the year on the outcome of the tender.”

Media contact: Lewis Hill
Phone: (03) 8392 6735