The release of new oil and gas exploration blocks off Victoria's west coast is not a breach of the state's onshore gas moratorium, the premier says.
The blocks are up to three nautical miles off the coast in the Otway Basin and it would involve drilling down onshore then drilling horizontally into the seabed. Companies have until February to bid for them.
"This doesn't breach the moratorium. It's not against the spirit of the moratorium. It's perfectly legal and it's the subject of a vigorous environmental process," Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Thursday.