Australia's crude oil production, which peaked in 2000, has fallen to 124 million barrels a year this decade.
Sustainability is essential for maintaining the economic benefit of petroleum supply, which is estimated to have reached $22.7 billion (13.4 billion) in 2006, with governments receiving $8.1 billion in taxes and royalties, underlining the national interest in a vibrant and competitive exploration and production industry.
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association states that only the discovery of a substantial new oil province can arrest the decline in reserves and production, as the country's oil producing areas have reached maturity.
If Australia is to maintain petroleum liquids production at present levels 35% below the 2000 peak exploration will need to both diversify to the so-called frontier basins and establish the full potential of basins with known hydrocarbon resources. There are more than 50 sedimentary basins in Australia, of which 12 are currently producing oil or gas and four have reserves deemed non-commercial.