Offshore Exploration Policy Reforms

Closed 8 Dec 2017

Opened 30 Oct 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.

For over 30 years, the acreage release has provided explorers with a selection of new areas for investment each year. A recent review of resource management issues identified several possible barriers to exploration investment.

To ensure that Australia remains a competitive investment destination on a global scale, the Australian Government is considering how it will attract offshore oil and gas exploration investment in the future. Policy changes are being contemplated that may replace the annual acreage release with a more streamlined system.

Discussion paper for comment

A discussion paper has been developed to explore possible changes to the acreage release system and other mechanisms to ensure the attractiveness of Australia's offshore oil and gas exploration regime. This consultation process aims to test the ideas that have been identified so far and seek feedback and/or alternative ideas.

Feedback can be provided either via the online form or by emailing a submission to

Invitation to discuss the proposals

Officers of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; Geoscience Australia and the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA) are available to discuss the proposals in person. Meetings can be scheduled in the week of 13 November either in Perth or via teleconference - please call Emma Reid on +61 (0)2 6213 6039 to make a time.

Next Steps

Following this consultation, we will collate responses and consider if further consultation on options is needed or if a particular solution can be progressed to implementation.

When a decision is made about the acreage release solution that will best serve Australia into the future, further work will be undertaken to explore the mechanics of how this will work - including processes for consultation, bidding, assessment and award of exploration permits.

Further information on possible policy changes and future consultation will be communicated via the Australian Petroleum News Newsletter.  Please subscribe to be kept up to date.

What Happens Next




  • Companies particating in offshore oil and gas
  • State and Territory Government Agencies
  • Peak bodies


  • Oil and gas
  • Offshore exploration
  • Petroleum