BP set to lead Ironbark gas exploration offshore Western Australia

Offshore staff

SYDNEY, Australia – BP Developments has agreed to acquire an 80% operated interest in a permit in the Carnarvon basin offshore Western Australia from Cue Exploration, a subsidiary of Cue Energy Resources.

Subject to regulatory approvals BP will operate WA-409-P and will fund 100% of the mandatory work program for the first three years of the newly-agreed five-year license renewal.

Commitments include PSDM reprocessing of 325 sq km (125 sq mi) of 3D seismic and one exploratory well.

In addition, BP has an option through May 2017 to acquire 42.5% of WA-359-P from Cue, in which case it would fund 50% of the cost of drilling a well on this permit, currently scheduled for the first half of 2018.

The duo may also seek to bring in further partners to co-fund this well.

Cue has undertaken a comprehensive regional study using 15,000 sq km (5,791 sq mi) of 3D and 2D seismic data and 17 well ties to map the Triassic intra-Mungaroo sands over the permits, as encountered at the Gorgon gas field.

This led to identification of the potentially 15-tcf recoverable Ironbark prospect, which straddles WA-359-P and WA-409-P in moderate water depths, as a drillable target.

Ironbark is a Mungaroo Formation prospect which appears to cover an area of up to 400 sq km (154 sq mi).

According to Cue, Wood Mackenzie estimates that the North West Shelf LNG plant and infrastructure will have spare capacity from 2021.

Ironbark is less than 50 km (31 mi) from the associated North Rankin platform and close to the Pluto and Wheatstone LNG infrastructure, so potentially there are commercialization options.

Cue executive chairman Grant Worner said: “If Cue’s assessment is proven to be correct, Ironbark would be three times the size of the Scarborough, Wheatstone, or Pluto fields.”


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