ABS Mineral and Petroleum Exploration data for the September quarter indicates a 6.0% fall in minerals activity but a 15% spike in petroleum drilling activities, typically gas exploration.

The trend estimate for total mineral exploration expenditure fell 6.0% (or -$58.9m) to $921.4m in the September quarter 2012. The largest contributor to the fall in the trend estimate this quarter was Western Australia (down 6.5% or -$35.5m). The current quarter estimate is 1.1% lower than the September quarter 2011 estimate.

The seasonally adjusted estimate for mineral exploration expenditure fell 14.7% (or -$146.9m) to $855.4m in the September quarter 2012. The largest contributor to the fall this quarter was Western Australia (down 19.0% or -$108.7m).

However the petroleum and gas sector continues to grow substantially, with total petroleum exploration expenditure rising 15.0% (or $131.0m) to $1002.7m in the September quarter 2012.

Exploration expenditure on production leases rose 26.0% (or $52.3m), while exploration expenditure on all other areas rose 10.3% (or $69.4m).

The seasonally adjusted estimate for total petroleum exploration expenditure rose 26.1% (or $227.5m) to $1100.4m in the September quarter 2012. Exploration expenditure on production leases rose 18.8% (or $42.4m) and exploration expenditure on all other areas rose 28.6% (or $185.1m).

The largest contributor to the rise in the trend estimate was Western Australia (up 15.5% or $90.6m) while the largest contributor to the rise in the seasonally adjusted estimate was Western Australia (up 34.6% or $198.2m).

Read the full statistical breakdown here.