The Australian federal government has awarded two offshore petroleum-exploration permits for areas off the North Australian coast.
The ABC reports the permits are in the Bonaparte Basin, about 200km west of Darwin. The exploration areas cover more 10,000 square km square kilometres near other gas fields.
Finder Exploration, Murphy Australia Oil and Diamond Resources Australia are among those awarded the permits.
They have committed almost $A7 million to geotechnical studies in the area.