Mineral and Petroleum Exploration

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    NAME OF ORGANISATION
    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

    OVERVIEW
    The Mineral and Petroleum Exploration collections are censuses conducted quarterly. Data are collected from private sector companies with licences to explore in Australia (including Aust waters) . Data collected are used by government and industry for policy formulation and planning. Details are published each quarter in Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia (ABS Cat No. 8412.0). The publication contains annual and quarterly statistics on data collected for expenditure on exploration, and metres drilled from all private enterprises known to be engaged in exploration in Australia. The respondent companies range from the largest companies to small exploration ventures.

    PURPOSE
    Data from the Mineral and Petroleum Exploration collections are used extensively by industry associations and government agencies for planning purposes and to measure the performance of the industry sector. It is also an important indicator of the state of the Australian economy and provides input to the Australian national and state accounts.

    SCOPE
    From Methodological Review Survey: March 96

    Scope: All private enterprises known to be engaged in exploration in Australia (including Australian waters). All exploration activity is included regardless of the main activity of the explorer.

    DATA DETAIL

    Conceptual framework
    The Mineral and Petroleum Exploration Census asks respondents to report expenditure for all exploration licences held by the state or territory of activity on the mineral and petroleum forms. The unit of collection is at the managing operator level and is determined by the respondent and can vary from enterprise group to location.


    Minerals: Are a naturally occurring inorganic element or compound having an orderly internal structure and characteristic chemical composition, crystal form, and physical properties. These, for example, comprise of metallic minerals, such as copper, silver, lead-zinc, nickel, cobalt, gold, iron ore, mineral sands, uranium and non-metallic minerals such as coal, diamonds, and other precious and semi-precious stones and construction materials (e.g. gravel and sand).

    Exploration: Activity involves searching for concentrations of naturally occurring solid, liquid or gaseous materials and includes new field wildcat and stratigraphical and extension/appraisal wells and mineral appraisals intended to delineate or greatly extend the limits of known deposits by geological, geophysical, geochemical, drilling or other methods. This includes drilling of boreholes, construction of shafts and adits primarily for exploration purposes but excludes activity of a developmental or production nature. Exploration for water is excluded.

    Exploration expenditure: Covers all expenditure (capitalised and non-capitalised) during the exploratory or evaluation stages in Australia, Australian waters, the Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA) and Areas B and C previously recognised under the Timor Sea Economic Cooperation Zone (referred to as the Zone of Cooperation - ZOC). Costs include cost of exploration, determination of recoverable reserves, engineering and economic feasibility studies, procurement of finance, gaining access to reserves, construction of pilot plants and all technical and administrative overheads directly associated with these functions. Examples are costs of satellite imagery, airborne and seismic surveys, use of geophysical and other instruments, geochemical surveys and map preparation; licence fees, land access and legal costs; geologist inspections, chemical analysis and payments to employees and contractors. Cash bids for offshore petroleum exploration permits are also included.

    Expected exploration expenditure: Expected exploration expenditure is collected in June and December quarter each year. Businesses are asked to report their expected expenditure for the next six months.

    From the June quarter 2000 publication, the basis for the Expected Mineral Exploration Expenditure series changed. Prior to June 2000, the expected estimates released were simple aggregates of data compiled through the quarterly Mineral Exploration collection. However, these aggregates underestimated actual expenditure to a fairly consistent degree. The consistency with which the published data underestimated actual expenditure suggested that adjustments to improve the accuracy and usefulness of the estimates of expected expenditure would be possible.

    In the period since June 2000, such adjustments have been made to reported mineral expected exploration data resulting in estimates which better predict actual expenditure for the same period. For more information regarding the adjustments made to the Expected Mineral Exploration Expenditure series, see the feature article in Mineral and Petroleum Exploration Australia June quarter 2000 (ABS Cat No. 8412.0).

    Timor Sea: The Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA) is an area in the Timor Sea, about 500 km north west of Darwin. The JPDA consists of the area previously referred to as Area A of the Zone of Cooperation (ZOC). A Treaty was signed with Indonesia in 1989 to enable exploration for and development of petroleum resources in this area.

    Following East Timor's separation from Indonesia, arrangements have continued on a transitional basis since 25 October 1999 with Australia and the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) on behalf of East Timor. These arrangements will terminate when East Timor becomes independent, expected in 2002.

    Australia and East Timor have agreed on a Framework Arrangement to form the basis of a Treaty to come into effect on East Timorese independence. Under this Arrangement, the JPDA will be controlled by a designated authority which will report to a Joint Commission, with a Ministerial Council to provide oversight. Ninety per cent of resources in this region will belong to East Timor and 10% to Australia.

    The situation regarding Areas B and C, in the former Zone of Cooperation has not yet been determined. Under the original agreement, Area B is controlled by Australian authorities, but UNTAET must be notified of any changes to tenements in the area and will be paid 10% of resource rent tax revenues collected by Australia from corporations producing petroleum. Exploration expenditure in this area has been included with the Western Australia data. Area C is controlled by UNTAET, but Australia must be notified of any changes to tenements in the area and will be paid 10% of Contractors Income Tax collected by UNTAET from corporations producing petroleum. Exploration expenditure in this area is excluded from the data.


    Ashmore and Cartier Islands: Tenements in the Ashmore and Cartier Islands are administered by the Northern Territory Department of Mines and Energy. Therefore all petroleum exploration expenditure in this area has been included with Northern Territory data.

    Main outputs
    Mineral Exploration details collected include:

    • Total exploration expenditure by type of lease (production leases and all other areas) by state and territory.
    • Total exploration expenditure by state by original, seasonally adjusted and trend estimates
    • Expenditure by state/territory by type of mineral sought.
    • Total metres drilled split between production leases and all other areas
    • Total metres drilled original, seasonally adjusted and trend

    and, in the June and December quarters:
    • Expected exploration expenditure for the next six months.
    • Data are collected for Australia only, and no State level information is available.

    Petroleum Exploration details collected include:
    • Total exploration expenditure by type of lease (production leases and all other areas)
    • Total exploration expenditure by onshore, offshore split between drilling and other expenditure
    • Total exploration expenditure by state and territory.

    and in the June and December quarters:
    • Expected expenditure for the next 6 months, split between onshore and offshore.
    • Data are collected for Australia only, and no State level information is available.

    Classifications
    The following categories are used:

    Offshore: Commences from the low water mark to three nautical miles out (referred to as coastal waters) under State and Northern Territory legislation and extends to those areas beyond coastal waters governed by the Commonwealth under the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967.

    Onshore: Includes all Australian territorial lands to the low water mark.

    Type of expenditure: Classification used:
    Drilling expenditure - includes wages and salaries paid to employees; purchase, rental, hiring as well as operation and maintenance of drilling equipment together with activities associated with accessing the areas where drilling is to occur (e.g. road creation, vessel/transport hiring, site preparation and restoration). Also includes expenditure on drilling done by contractors.

    Other expenditure - includes all other exploration costs, other than those associated with drilling expenditure. This expenditure includes purchase of capital and non-capital items, rental or hiring fees, service fees relating to surveying and analysis, administrative and legal fees associated with obtaining licences/permits, land access, map preparation, feasiblity studies, environmental impacts studies and restoration costs.

    Type of lease: Classification used:
    Production lease - is an area on which development to extract coal, minerals, liquids or gaseous materials is underway or where extraction/mining of these substances is already occurring.

    All other areas - are those areas outside the Production lease. These include areas under exploration licence/permit or retention licence, as well as non-licenced areas being assessed for exploration, eg through airborne surveys.

    Other concepts (summary)
    Not applicable

    GEOGRAPHIC DETAIL
    Australia
    New South Wales
    Victoria
    Queensland
    South Australia
    Western Australia
    Tasmania
    Northern Territory
    Other (specify below)

    Comments and/or Other Regions
    Timor Sea - Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA), separately identified. Zone of Cooperation B (ZOC B) divided between WA and NT according to administration of tenement. Zone of Cooperation C (ZOC C) is excluded from the data.

    Ashmore and Cartier Islands: Tenements in the Ashmore and Cartier Islands are administered by the Northern Territory Department of Mines and Energy. Therefore all petroleum exploration expenditure in this area has been included with Northern Territory data.

    COLLECTION FREQUENCY
    Quarterly

    Frequency comments
    Publication to be released in the last two weeks of the months of March, June, September and December.

    COLLECTION HISTORY
    Mineral exploration expenditure:
    March Quarter 1974 - statistics available at Australian level by type of lease (production leases, all other areas)
    Sept Quarter 1987 - statistics available at Australian level for metres drilled by type of lease (production leases,
    all other areas)
    Sept Quarter 1987 - trend/seasonally adjusted data at Australian level available for total metres drilled
    Sept Quarter 1988 - trend/seasonally adjusted data by state/territory available for total expenditure
    Sept Quarter 1988 - statistics available at state/territory level by type of commodity
    Sept Quarter 1999 - statistics available at state/territory level by type of lease (production leases, all other areas)

    Details of mineral exploration expenditure from the September quarter 1987 cannot be compared with details of previous quarters as the coverage of the collection was expanded. Quarterly details of mineral exploration activity prior to September quarter 1987 was restricted to private enterprises which reported annual expected expenditure exceeding $0.5m.

    Between September quarter 1989 and September quarter 1999 details of mineral explorers reporting less than $5,000 per quarter were excluded from the tables, resulting in a small break in the series. There was minimal impact on the estimates.

    Petroleum exploration expenditure:
    Sept Quarter 1974 - statistics available at the Australian level by onshore/offshore and drilling/other
    Sept Quarter 1985 - statistics available at Australian level by type of lease (production leases, all other areas)
    Sept Quarter 1994 - statistics available at state/territory level

    DATA AVAILABILITY
    Yes

    Data availability comments
    Quarterly publication - Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia (ABS Cat No. 8412.0).


    DATE OF LAST UPDATE FOR THIS DOCUMENT
    19/01/2017 09:07 AM