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News release: Hon Tom Koutsantonis MP, Saturday 13 August 2016.

The State Government has released a public information guide outlining the opportunities and concerns associated with offshore drilling for oil and gas in South Australia.

The facts about offshore oil and gas exploration in South Australia attempts to provide objective information to the public about the issues surroundings oil and gas exploration amid substantial commentary from interest groups on both sides of the debate.

The guide outlines the 50-year history of offshore exploration in South Australia, the $1.2 billion currently being invested by oil and gas companies operating in the Bight, and the approval process companies must go through before conducting exploration activity.

The guide is the latest in The Facts series released by the State Government, and was produced with the assistance of NOPSEMA. It is available at


Exploration activity since the 1960s has revealed large oil and gas prospects in the Great Australian Bight.

There has been renewed interest in drilling in the Great Australian Bight in recent years, including by BP, who completed one of Australia’s largest offshore 3D seismic surveys in 2012. Working in a joint venture with Norway’s Statoil, BP is seeking approval for further exploration in the Bight.

Chevron Australia, Murphy Australia, Santos Offshore and Bight Petroleum are also proposing significant exploration programs in waters off the coast of South Australia.

Quotes attributable to Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis

Offshore exploration will create jobs for South Australians in transport and logistics, fuel supply, food services and construction, with investment currently committed by oil and gas companies that is worth about $1.2 billion to our state.

Discoveries will build on this initial investment, opening the door for more jobs, onshore infrastructure and supply-chain opportunities that will further diversify our state’s economy.

What this guide demonstrates is that offshore exploration is nothing new – it has been happening in South Australia for 50 years.

Given the significant opportunities this industry offers South Australia it is important that we don’t have a knee-jerk response to the prospect of further exploration.

We have the best regulatory framework in the world through the independent national regulator NOPSEMA and we need to trust that process and leave decisions up to the experts, rather than political actors.