South Pacific: Gas projects dominate the region ///

Australia. The country is actively supporting exploration and development of its oil and gas reserves, particularly offshore Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Offshore in the Bass Strait between Victoria and Tasmania, companies are also active. An estimated 210 wells were drilled in 2001, 79 offshore; 233 are expected this year. Crude and condensate production in 2001 averaged 641,000 bpd, over 90% from offshore. Gas output was 3.7 Bcfd. The government released 42 offshore blocks for bids in early 2001, with final second-round areas open until April 2002. In 2002, 41 offshore blocks were offered, with bids to close in April 2003. Of 41 offshore wildcats and appraisals reported by Wood Mackenzie from mid-2001 through first quarter 2002, there were: 17 dry holes, 6 tight holes, 5 gas-condensate, and 13 oil wells.

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