An exploration permit will not be offered to an applicant unless the applicant can satisfy the Joint Authority of its capacity to undertake its proposed minimum guaranteed work program and that program is considered likely to significantly progress the assessment of the petroleum potential of the permit area.
A secondary work program must be specified. The secondary work program should include substantial operational activities that will significantly advance exploration of the area.
The minimum acceptable bid for an area will vary depending on the size of the area and its perceived prospectivity. Generally, it would be expected that the minimum guaranteed work program would include at least a significant amount of new seismic surveying and/or wells and that at least one well would normally be expected to be proposed within the six years of the permit term. However:
- Where extensive, non exclusive seismic data or significant reprocessed seismic data (normally from field tapes) are available over an area, it would generally be expected that the minimum guaranteed work program would include at least the licensing of a significant amount of those data followed by a well or wells.
- Where the area is fully covered by 3D seismic data, substantial reprocessing of the data may form a substantial part of proposed primary work commitments. The reprocessing would normally be expected to be from field tapes.
- The challenges of exploring in frontier areas are recognised and will be reflected in the assessment of bids. Such assessment would include consideration of the types of survey to be carried out over the permit area and in particular:
- appropriate seismic line spacing to progress exploration; and
- the timing of any wells that are proposed.
The minimum acceptable bid must be credible, coherent and supportable. It should be able to be pursued on a dry hole basis. The early elements of the program should be sufficient to enable the later elements to proceed.
If there is no current lead or prospect identified, there must be sufficient phased seismic to enable a lead or prospect to be identified somewhere in the permit area, and be brought to a drillable status.
The above guidance on minimum acceptable bids will also be applied by the Joint Authority when considering applications for five year renewal terms for permits.