Beach Energy books 2TCF of natural gas follow first two shale wells in Australia's Cooper Basin

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Australian independent Beach Energy has booked a contingent resource of 2 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of unconventional natural gas after drilling its first two shale wells in the Cooper Basin onshore Australia.

Beach is the first company to target shale gas in the Cooper Basin, pioneering the unconventional resource in Australia.

“The booking of a contingent resource of this size is a clear indication of the potential within our unconventional gas acreage in the central Cooper Basin," said Reg Nelson, Beach managing director.

The Holdfast-1 and Encounter-1 have been assigned an initial gas resource estimate of 1TCF each, based on a restricted area of 100 square kilometers around each well. 

The license on which the wells are located, PEL218 spans some 1,600 square kilometers.

The two shale wells, Holdfast-1 and Encounter-1, were drilled vertically, and were not designed for production purposes. The company believes that when it drills horizontally, the upside of the shale will likely increase.

“The Cooper Basin shales and other formations tested to date are very thick, gas saturated and have the potential to flow at rates we believe will meet future commercial thresholds," Nelson added.

Strong Flow Test Results

Initial flow testing of the Holdfast-1 well flowed at rates of up to 2 million cubic feet a day, and a horizontal production well is expected to deliver a much higher flow rate due to a greater exposure to the formation.

"Our test work to date indicates that the unconventional target zones, including the various shale layers, stretch underneath the entire permit, so there is potentially significant upside to these initial gas resource bookings," Nelson said. 

The resource estimate is based on observed flows, following hydraulic fracturing and continued flow testing on Holdfast-1, as well as takes into account the main shale and other formation target zones, including the Roseneath Shale, Epsilon formation, Murteree Shale and the top of the Patchawarra formation.

Additionally, the resource estimate does not include the currently untested and deeper Patchawarra formation and shallower Toolachee and Baralingie formations.

Beach serves as the operator and holds 90 percent interest in PEL 218. 

Because the Cooper Basin has proven a prolific conventional natural gas province, having produced some 6TCF of natural gas to date, the shale development is ideally situated near existing infrastructure to deliver the production to Eastern Australian markets.

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