Beach Energy is planning to transfer part of its interests to Chevron for two shale gas permit areas in South Australia and Queensland.
Beach said the proposed deal for PEL 218 and ATP 855 was expected to be worth more than $350 million over several years.
Beach and its subsidiaries have signed documents with Chevron Australia involving part-interests in the PEL 218 permit zone in South Australia and ATP 855 in Queensland.
Chevron plans to take an initial 30 per cent working interest in the Permian section of PEL 218 and an 18 per cent working interest in ATP 855.
That might ultimately rise to 60 per cent of the SA permit area and 36 per cent of the Queensland permit.
The deal needs approvals from governments and the Foreign Investment Review Board.
Plans for both permit areas include an initial exploration program, then pilot production programs.
Beach managing director Reg Nelson said it was an important step for Cooper Basin gas development.
"This transaction vindicates in many ways the vision that the company has in relation to the potential of unconventional gas in the Cooper Basin," he said in a statement.
"We look forward to working closely with Chevron and Icon Energy in the continued rejuvenation of the Cooper Basin." Icon Energy is Beach's joint venture partner in ATP 855.
Chevron Australia managing director Roy Krzywosinski said his company was pleased to be expanding its operations in the region.
"We have an industry-leading queue of LNG projects under development in Australia and this agreement provides an opportunity to explore a new, prospective basin and potentially add to our natural gas portfolio," he said.
"The Cooper Basin is an established petroleum-producing basin and provides the opportunity to leverage our expertise in tight gas." Beach Energy shares were up nearly 6 per cent to $1.37 by 2:00pm (AEDT) on the announcement.