Release Areas V09-1, V09-2, V09-3 and V09-4, Central Otway Basin, Victoria
The four 2009 Release Areas are located approximately 300 km west-southwest of Melbourne, the State Capital of Victoria with a population of over 3.5 million. The greater Melbourne region currently represents Australia's largest domestic gas market and is supported by major petroleum refineries. The City of Portland is the nearest centre (population 9900) along the western Victorian coast. Portland is famous for its deepwater port established for the large aluminium smelting operations. The port can be used for offshore operations and is serviced by an excellent network of road and rail links.
Release Area V09-1 extends from Victorian State waters (three-mile-zone) southwards from Portland across the shelf to the upper part of the continental slope (Figure 1 [PDF, 442KB]). Water depths for the northern part of the block are less than 100 m with the remainder increasing to 500 m across the upper to middle continental slope. Release Area V09-1 comprises 46 (35 full and 11 partial) graticular blocks and covers an area of about 2,605 km2.
Release Area V09-2 lies south of the town of Port Fairy beyond Victoria's Three-Mile Zone and northeastward of Release Area V09-1. Release Area V09-2 was part of the former exploration permit VIC/P44, which, following relinquishment in November 2006, is now partially being re-advertised. The area consists of 9 (6 full and 3 partial) graticular blocks that cover approximately 530 km2. Water depths are typical for shallow shelf regions and range between 30 m and 100 m.
Release Area V09-3 lies 10 km east of the Henry and Casino gas fields and was also part of the former licence area VIC/P44. The area, consists of 3 full graticular blocks that cover an area of 200 km2. Water depths range between 50 and 150 m.
Release Area V09-4 is the deepest water of the 4 Release Areas. Its southeastern boundary coincides with the Victorian and Tasmanian offshore boundary (Figure 1 [PDF, 442KB]). Release Area V09-4 consists of 74 (66 full and 8 partial) graticular blocks, and covers an area of approximately 4710 km2. Water depths increase to the southwest across the middle to lower continental slope, from around 500 m to over 2000 m along the southern boundary.
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