Victoria has released five new offshore oil and gas exploration blocks — but is still blocking all exploration on land.

The new areas are part of the 2018 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release, which has opened 21 new areas around the country for exploration.

Victoria has only released blocks in the offshore Otway Basin area, but the Federal government’s release also includes waters off the coast of Gippsland, where BHP and Esso produce gas.

New blocks nationwide are located in the Bonaparte Basin, Browse Basin, Northern Carnarvon Basin, Bight Basin, Otway Basin and Gippsland Basin.

“All release areas were supported by industry nominations indicating that interest in exploring offshore Australia’s basins remains strong, despite the significant decrease in the number of exploration wells drilled in recent years,” Geoscience Australia said.

Federal resources minister Matt Canavan said the areas included well-known, petroleum-producing basins thrugh to frontier basins.

A mishmash of State and Federal laws around the country have caused problems for both oil and gas exploration around the country.

Victoria has banned all fracking and has a moratorium on all onshore exploration.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a method where water mixed with lubricants is sent down a well to force open cracks and fissures holding oil or gas.

Gina Rinehart-backed Lakes Oil (ASX:LKO) is still fighting the latter issue in court, saying the State government has thwarted its ability to use its leases.

The Northern Territory reversed its ban on fracking in April, but has still put the brakes on by launching an onerous regulatory regime to manage the practice.

New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania all have complete or partial bans on fracking and coal seam gas exploration and development.