Apache Corporation (NYSE, Nasdaq: APA) announced today that its Australian subsidiary has confirmed a natural gas discovery at its operated Bianchi-1 well in Retention Lease WA-49-R, located in the Carnarvon Basin offshore northwest Australia.
Bianchi-1 was drilled to a total depth of 17,717 feet (5,400 meters) subsea, and final information regarding the well is being assessed. The well encountered approximately 367 feet (112 meters) of net natural gas pay in eight reservoir zones between 15,577 and 17,530 feet subsea (4,748 to 5,343 meters).
Bianchi-1 was drilled using the Ocean America semi-submersible deepwater drilling rig, which remains on location completing wireline logging and other information-gathering operations. Bianchi-1 adds to previous Apache exploration success in this part of the Carnarvon Basin following the Zola discovery in 2011. Zola is a natural gas discovery that Apache announced in 2011, located 4 miles (6 kilometers) southwest of the Bianchi discovery. The data from these wells, along with the Apache-operated Olympus gas discovery drilled in an adjacent permit earlier this year, provides critical insights into hydrocarbon distribution in the area.
"Bianchi is an important well for Apache, providing further understanding of the development options with the greater Zola area," said Faron Thibodeaux, Managing Director of Apache in Australia.
Evaluation of these recent discoveries is at an early stage and is being undertaken to assess potential commercial opportunities," Thibodeaux said.
The Bianchi-1 is part of Apache's ongoing exploration program across the Carnarvon Basin of Western Australia. During 2013, Apache plans to invest approximately US$1.9 billion for drilling, recompletion projects, development projects, equipment upgrades, production enhancement projects and seismic acquisitions.
Apache is the operator of Bianchi-1 (30.25% holding). Other parties in the joint venture are Santos (24.75%), OMV Australia (20%), JX Nippon (15%) and Tap Oil (10%). Apache acquired the interest in the field as part of a number of acreage acquisitions completed since 2010 that increased the company's gross acreage in Australia. Currently, Apache has interests in more than 31 000 square kilometers of northwest Australian offshore acreage including exploration permits and production licenses.