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CANBERRA, Sept 18 Asia Pulse – The federal government has awarded 12 new permits for offshore oil exploration in Australia.

Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane said today the permits would boost investment in offshore exploration by more than $A270 million ($US202.7 million).

“These latest permits cover areas off Western and South Australia, as well as the Northern Territory, bringing the number of permits in Australian offshore waters to a record total of 190,” Mr Macfarlane said in a statement.

“Increased petroleum exploration is essential to Australia’s long term energy security and to our future economic wellbeing, and these areas offer exciting potential for petroleum discovery,” he said.

Permits have been awarded to:

* Shell Development (Australia) and Chevron Australia to explore in the Carnarvon Basin off WA,

* Octanex and Strata Resources for the southern Exmouth sub-basin,

* Oilex, Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation, Videocon Industries, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation for exploration in deep water in the northern Exmouth plateau,

* Gascorp Australia in the outer Exmouth plateau and the northern Exmouth plateau,

* Cue Exploration for another part of the northern Exmouth plateau,

* Westralian Petroleum, Lempika and Emphazise for the Perth Basin off WA,

* Exoil, Gascorp Australia, Moby Oil and Gas, and National Energy for Otway Basin off SA.

* Oil And Gas, Australian Natural Gas, and Nations Natural Gas in the Bonaparte Basin off the NT.

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