Karoon awarded permit in Great Australian Bight

Karoon Gas Australia Ltd., Melbourne, has been awarded a large exploration permit offshore South Australia in the Ceduna subbasin of the Great Australian Bight to the southeast of the controversial deepwater permits held by BP PLC, Statoil AS, Murphy Oil Corp., Santos Ltd., and Chevron Corp.

Karoon’s block, covering just under 18,000 sq km, is EPP 46 and lies about 200 km west of Port Lincoln.

The company says the Ceduna subbasin hosts a large Cretaceous-age delta system that it believes holds hydrocarbon potential on a world scale.

The combined exploration commitments of the major companies total $1 billion (Aus.) and include the drilling of 9 wells over the next 2 years. Karoon is quick to say, however, that its initial 3-year commitment does not include a well, but does require the acquisition of 2D and 3D seismic data.

The company adds that the geology, potential target size, and the exploration programs proposed for nearby permits make its permit a high-impact opportunity.

The thick sedimentary section has multiple structural and stratigraphic stacked play types and the sediments thicken in the central to outer areas of the subbasin. These remain largely untested. Earlier work suggests the presence of a working petroleum system.

Karoon’s initial work program includes firm commitments for $26 million of seismic acquisition.

The company says it recognizes the Bight as a pristine wilderness area with substantial environmental and commercial fishing sensitivities. It will be monitoring the progress of the committed drilling programs in surrounding permits to make an assessment of the environmental risks following those campaigns before committing to any exploration drilling in permit EPP46.

Consequently, the environmental movement is fighting hard to ban exploration in the Bight and regulatory authorities have yet to give a green light to the first well to be drilled by the BP-led group in permit EPP37 (OGJ Online, Sept. 29, 2016).

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