Proposed Acreage Release Optimisation

Closed 21 Jun 2018

Opened 10 May 2018


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.

For over 30 years, the acreage release has provided explorers with a selection of new areas for investment each year. To ensure that Australia remains a competitive investment destination on a global scale, the Australian Government has been considering options to ensure the system of acreage release continues to meet the needs of business, community and government.

Consultation was undertaken in late 2017 on potential alternatives to the annual acreage release system. Consultation feedback indicated that wholesale reform of the process was not needed, however improvements to the efficiency and transparency of the current process would be welcome.

Taking on this feedback the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science is now seeking feedback on a proposal to optimise the annual acreage release for implementation from 2019.

Proposal for comment

A paper was developed to describe the proposed Acreage Optimisation Model and seek feedback. The aim of the proposed model is to deliver increased efficiency and maximise the opportunities for exploration investment in Australia’s offshore areas.

Consultation at this stage sought to highlight any unintended consequences and/or issues that need to be considered during the implementation phase. Comments were provided between May and June 2018.

What Happens Next

Following the consultation process, changes were made to improve the acreage release process. From 2019, the acreage release will continue to offer an annual investment cycle and will now be more streamlined. These improvements will result in greater transparency, improved opportunities for public comment and a faster response to investment demand.

The first acreage release under the new model is expected in July 2019.

Read more about the new look offshore petroleum exploration acreage release from 2019

More information on policy changes will be communicated via the Australian Petroleum News newsletter.  Please subscribe to be kept up to date.


  • Offshore petroleum exploration and production companies
  • Governments and institutions
  • • 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


  • Oil and gas investment
  • Exploration leases
  • Offshore petroleum exploration acreage release
  • Offshore oil and gas exploration
  • Resources
  • Offshore petroleum exploration acreage release
  • Offshore oil and gas exploration
  • Oil and gas
  • Offshore exploration
  • Petroleum