Woodside Petroleum Ltd. has been awarded permit WA-522-P in the offshore Bonaparte basin. It lies between the Petrel, Frigate, Tern, and Blacktip gas fields on the east and the Prometheus-Rubicon fields to the west.
The area covers the Londonderry High and Petrel sub-basin and is well placed to provide natural gas east to Darwin or west and south to supply its LNG projects offshore eastern Australia.
The 7,800-sq-km permit is only 20 km from shore at its closest point and just 400 km west of Darwin. Only one well has previously been drilled within the new block—Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Co.’s Torrens-1 wildcat about 90 km offshore. It has oil and gas shows.
Eni SPA’s Blacktip gas field is on stream via pipeline into the Northern Territory grid, but the Petrel, Tern, and Frigate fields remain undeveloped despite Santos-GDF Suez attempts to establish a floating LNG project. Those fields are thought to hold 2-3 tcf of gas reserves.
Oil and gas discoveries also have been made in the onshore Bonaparte basin in the last 30 years although there has been no commercial development to date.
Woodside has taken note of expanding systems, including recent proposals for a northern gas pipeline linking the Northern Territory with eastern Australia.