SYDNEY, Australia — The National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA) has agreed to extend the terms of two exploration permits held by Melbana Energy Ltd. offshore Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
NOPTA has also approved an 18-month suspension of the primary term work program conditions for the WA-544-P and NT/P87 permits. Both are in shallow water (20-40 m deep) and located 300 km southwest of Darwin.
The permit terms now run through May 23, 2028. Melbana has until May 23, 2025, to complete geological and geotechnical studies, including seismic interpretation, before deciding whether to progress to 700 sq km of new 3D seismic by May 23, 2026.
If the company takes up this option, it would then have to make a drill / drop decision concerning two exploration wells by May 23, 2028.
The permits host the Hudson prospect, which Melbana considers to be an isolated carbonate buildup, an untested play type in Australia. The first exploration well in this category will be Beehive-1, which could be drilled shortly this year in the adjacent WA-488-P.
Hudson could contain 395 MMbbl of oil or 2.034 Tcf of gas, the company believes.
Melbana also identified the Beehive prospect and later sold WA-488-P to a US oil company, with the latter recently gaining approval for a geotechnical survey on the Beehive drill site.