2018 Release Areas

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The offshore petroleum industry is invited to shape the annual acreage release each year by submitting nominations for areas to be considered for release.

Areas nominated are considered for release against government objectives and consultation outcomes.

The nomination process

Nominations for the 2019 acreage release have closed. Nominations are now being accepted for the 2020 acreage release and can be registered until February 2020. Nominations received after this date will be included in the subsequent acreage release process.

Nominations can be registered via the online nomination form available at:


What happens to my nomination?

Areas nominated by industry can generally be expected to progress to public consultation. Exclusion of areas, or parts of areas, before public consultation is only likely to occur where there is a legal reason or national security consideration. For example, if a nominated area extends into a green or yellow Australian marine park zone, the relevant part of the nominated area would be excluded prior to consultation.

What should I consider before I prepare my nomination

The areas that progress to consultation represent petroleum industry interest and as such there may be significant fluctuation in the numbers of areas consulted on from year to year.

Nominating parties should note that nomination of large numbers of areas could create concerns from other marine users and impact on community acceptance of the offshore petroleum industry. In acknowledgement of these concerns, the Australian government encourages nominations only where there is genuine interest to commence exploration activities in the immediate term.

As a guide, for an exploration and production company, a nomination would indicate that the nominator has a strong interest in exploring that area and potentially placing a bid in the next scheduled acreage release. For a geophysical company, it would be expected there is recent non-exclusive data1 available over the area or data will become available before or during the next scheduled bidding period (July to March).

There are no restrictions on the number of nominations that can be put forward by an individual or organisation. However the Australian government reserves the right to review this position in future if nominated areas are routinely not bid on by any parties and/or if nominations are consistently lacking in detailed rationale. The areas that progress to consultation will represent petroleum industry interest and will not yet have received government endorsement as areas proposed to be made available for bidding in an acreage release.

[1] Data is taken to mean all data products including reprocessing and derivatives.

How to use the smart form

You can save the online nomination form for up to three days while you complete it. To save the form at any stage, please click ‘Save for later’ located near the top, left hand corner of the nomination form and record the tracking number. Please note that if the form is not submitted or updated within three days, it will be deleted and cannot be recovered.

To return to a form you have saved, visit the online nomination form and select ‘resume a saved form’ located at the top of the page. You will be asked to enter your tracking number to retrieve your saved form.

On submission of your nomination, you will receive a tracking number and a copy of the form will be emailed to you. Please use this tracking number if you need to enquire about your nomination. Note than you cannot amend a nomination once submitted.

On the tracking page there is also an option to ‘start a new form’ – by clicking on this option your Nominee details will be pre-filled.

If you have any queries when completing this form, please email petroleum.exploration@industry.gov.au.

What information do I need to provide in support of my nomination?

You will need to provide the following information on your nominated area:

  • Offshore area – in which state/territory or external territory is the nominated area located?

  • Basin – in which sedimentary basin is the nominated area located? i.e. Browse or Bonaparte basin.

  • Sub-basin – in which secondary basin is the nominated area is located? i.e. Vulcan sub-basin.

  • Map Sheet (1:1,000,000) and 5’ graticular blocks – please refer to Geoscience Australia’s Interactive Maps webpage for the correct map sheet references and graticular blocks used under the Commonwealth Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006:

    • The map sheet reference is two letters followed by two numbers i.e. SF49.

    • For a large number of graticular blocks, an attachment can be provided.

  • Map – you must attach a map or shapefile of the area you have nominated.

  • Justification – you must provide a short rationale for inclusion of the area.

  • Consultation – please note any other users of the marine environment in the area you have nominated who you think should be consulted as part of the acreage release process.

  • Other rights – please make a note of any Australian Marine Parks, Defence Practice Areas or Commonwealth fisheries the nominated area overlaps.

  • Exploration history – please note the most recent title held over the area (if known).

  • Data availability – service companies are asked to note any plans to acquire new data and/or list any existing data available for sale over the nominated area.

Information supporting nominations is treated as 'Commercial-in-Confidence’.