2018 Offshore Acreage Release - Proposed areas for comment

Closed 7 Feb 2018

Opened 18 Dec 2017


The Australian Government encourages ongoing investment in, and development of, Australia’s offshore petroleum (oil and gas) resources. The annual Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release (acreage release) is a key part of the strategy to promote offshore oil and gas exploration in Australia.

This consultation process provides an opportunity for persons who have a specific interest in a proposed area/s to provide comments and/or information that may be useful to (a) inform the acreage release and (b) inform potential explorers of their particular interest. The consultation also serves as an initial notification that an area may be subject to future exploration.

Proposed release areas for comment

The maps show the areas proposed for inclusion in the 2018 acreage release in red and labelled with an identifying number - e.g. W18-1 - please use this number to reference the area that relates to each comment in your response. 

This consultation process provides an opportunity for all interested parties to provide comments and feedback on the areas proposed and in particular highlight how you might be impacted by exploration activities.

Feedback can be provided either via the online form or by emailing Petroleum.Exploration@industry.gov.au by Wednesday 7 February 2018.

Additional information on the Acreage Release

The release of an acreage release area, does not necessarily mean exploration will occur in that area. Companies must apply for a release area and be assessed prior to decision-makers awarding a petroleum exploration permit. Should a permit be awarded, it authorises the holder to apply to Australia's independent offshore petroleum regulator, NOPSEMA, for permission to undertake an activity.

The main steps in the acreage release cycle are:

• Nominations invited

• Shortlisting of nominated areas

• Consultation - undertaken in two phases:

  1. with agencies in Commonwealth and state/Northern Territory jurisdictions with direct responsibility for managing the marine environment.
  2. a public consultation period on the proposed areas.

Following consultation, the final areas for the acreage release are announced by the responsible Commonwealth Minister and industry are invited to submit bids on the release areas.

Next Steps

Following this consultation, responses will be considered as part of finalising the areas to be included in the 2018 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release.

If issues raised are considered to be manageable through environment and safety approvals processes, material from consultation responses may be made publicly available to potential explorers for consideration when preparing bids and/or planning activities. This is done through a document known as the 'Special Notices' which will be available on www.petroleum-acreage.gov.au.

The final areas are expected to be announced in May 2018 and will be communicated via the Australian Petroleum News Newsletter.  Please subscribe to be kept up to date.

What Happens Next




  • Local Governments in regions along the coast of the acreage release areas
  • Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) with an interest in environmental management and wildlife protection
  • Businesses
  • Interested members of the public
  • Australian Petroluem Production and Exploration Association and relevant state and territory department contacts
  • NGOs
  • Small business
  • Peak bodies
  • Sectoral stakeholders
  • Government stakeholders
  • NOPTA seeks comment from relevant industry associations, as well as individual companies with interest in the process of applying for, and use of a SPA, AA, or SIC.
  • Businesses who hold licenses and/or operate in or near to the areas proposed areas
  • Interested members of the public
  • Local governments in regions adjacent to the proposed acreage release areas
  • Peak industry bodies
  • Non-government organisations
  • Offshore Resources Branch
  • Companies particating in offshore oil and gas
  • State and Territory Government Agencies
  • Peak bodies
  • International organisations
  • Individuals
  • Industry associations
  • Industry
  • Not for profit organisations
  • State / Territory Government
  • Public
  • Commonwealth Government departments and agencies
  • Industry Associates
  • Commonwealth government
  • Community groups
  • Everyday Australians
  • Exporters
  • Family businesses
  • Industry
  • Industry associations
  • Local government
  • Regional Australians
  • Resources Division


  • Oil and gas investment
  • Resource recovery
  • Exploration leases
  • Resource security
  • Energy and natural resources
  • Offshore petroleum exploration acreage release
  • Offshore oil and gas exploration
  • Resources
  • Oil and gas
  • Offshore exploration
  • Petroleum