05/17/2010 - Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has announced 31 new offshore petroleum exploration areas.
The announcement was made at the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association's conference in Brisbane today.
The areas range over five basins, with 26 exploration areas in Western Australia, two in the Ashmore and Cartier islands, two in South Australia and one in the Northern Territory.
Environmentalists have raised concerns about the plan.
Michelle Grady from the Pew Environment Group says it is the first time exploration has been approved in areas also being considered as marine sanctuaries.
She says the locations include areas off Kangaroo Island in South Australia and off the north-west coast of WA.
Read the rest of the article, Australia to Open Up Seabed for Oil Exploration, on the ABC News Web site.