SOUTHBANK, Australia – Diamond Offshore’s semisubmersible Ocean Monarch is drilling two exploration wells for Esso Deepwater Gippsland offshore Victoria, southeast Australia.
TheBaldfish and Hairtail prospects are both on the VIC/P70 block in the Gippsland basin, 90 km (56 mi) offshore. Drilling started in late August and was expected to take several months to complete.
Esso Deepwater Gippsland chairman Richard Owen said the water depths, ranging from 350-700 m (1,148-2,297 ft), were among the deepest drilled to date in the Gippsland basin.
Both are targeting gas prospects as the company aims to find fresh resources to develop and export to the local gas market. Estimated cost of the campaign is AUD$120 million ($85 million).
Next year ExxonMobil Australia will commemorate its 50th year of gas production as part of the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture. Since the first well was drilled in 1965 in the Bass Strait, around 4 Bboe of crude oil and 8 tcf of natural gas have been produced, the company added.