The Queensland Government has announced that six parcels of land have been released for petroleum and gas exploration through a non-cash competitive tender.
On 4 April 2014, the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, announced that over 16,400 square kilometres of land in west Queensland has been made available for authorities to prospect for petroleum and gas. The land comprises approximately 5,160 sub-blocks, with one parcel in the Carpentaria Basin, two in the Georgina Basin, one in the Cooper-Eromanga Basin and two in the Eromanga Basin.
Minister Cripps said “the land we are releasing has potential for new discoveries of both conventional and unconventional petroleum resources, and the area to the west of Quilpie [could] possibly contain oil resources as well.”
In support of the call for tenders, Paul Fennelly, Chief Operating Officer of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) for eastern Australia, reportedly said the Government’s plans would “allow the next generation of the State's resources to be developed”, adding that “a strong resource exploration sector is the backbone of the petroleum industry.”
There will be no cash bid component to tender applications for exploration rights over the recently released parcels of land. This means that the tenements will be competitively allocated after an assessment of each tenderer's proposed work program, technical and financial capability, and capacity to meet all relevant assessment criteria. According to the Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM), this provides explorers with “equity in opportunity to access land.”
Non-cash or “work program based” tenders are called for land of unknown prospectivity to help facilitate continued interest in greenfields development from the smaller mining exploration sector. Minister Cripps said that “Queensland’s mining industry will benefit from the release of under-explored land, considered to be frontier areas” and “delivers on the Government’s election promise to grow resources as one of the four pillars of the economy.”
More information about submitting a tender can be found at the DNRMwebsite. For additional technical information about the released areas of land, interested parties will need to register as a “supplier” with QTendersand download the Specification Documents. Tenders must be submitted before 4.30pm on Monday, 29 September 2014.
If you would like to know more about exploration in Queensland, or wish to discuss tendering for exploration tenure, please contact one of the authors below.
A link to our Investing in the Australian Petroleum Industry publication, which provides background information in relation to the Australian oil and gas industry and explores key legal considerations for investing in, or developing, an oil and gas project in Australia can be found here.