New Australian permits include big exploration plans

Australia is moving up the list of world exporters of LNG, and expects new geology and geophysical work to add to that capacity.

Gene Kliewer • Houston

Australia is moving up the list of world exporters of LNG, and expects new geology and geophysical work to add to that capacity. Toward that end, 12 new offshore petroleum exploration permits have been awarded in waters off Western Australia and Victoria, and will see $303 million in new investment over the next three years if all the initial and secondary exploration plans from the successful bidders are completed.

Forty-six bids were received for 16 release areas of the first 2011 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release round, which closed October 2011.

"With these new permits, we hope to see discovery of new oil and gas reserves, which could translate into more jobs and growth for our economy," said Martin Ferguson, minister for Resources and Energy.

He also pointed out that the new permits could lead to more LNG exports from Australia. Since 2007, over $175 billion in capital expenditure has been committed to LNG projects and there are seven projects under construction. In 2011, Australia exported 18.9 million metric tons of LNG, with a value of around $11.1 billion. The Australian government's Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics forecasts the value of Australian LNG exports for 2011-12 will increase to $11.6 billion.

The awards were as follows:

AC/P55 (released as AC11-2) on the Ashmore platform of the Bonaparte basin off the Ashmore and Cartier Islands to Finder No 13 Pty Ltd. The company proposed a program comprising licensing 80 sq km (31 sq mi) of pre-existing multi-client 3D seismic data, 400 sq km (154 sq mi) 3D seismic survey, 320 sq km (124 sq mi) 3D seismic reprocessing, and geotechnical studies at $4.95 million.

WA-471-P (released as W11-1) in the Caswell sub-basin of the Browse basin off Western Australia to IPM Browse Pty Ltd. The company proposed a program of geotechnical studies, 600 sq km (232 sq mi) 3D seismic surveying and one exploration well at $24.0 million.

WA-472-P (released as W11-10) straddling the Lambert shelf, Beagle, and Dampier sub-basins of the northern Carnarvon basin to Woodside Energy Ltd. The company proposed a program of geotechnical studies, 3,023 sq km (1,167 sq mi) 3D seismic survey and two exploration wells at $54.89 million.

WA-473-P (released as W11-11) same as WA-472-P. Woodside proposed a program of geotechnical studies and 1,541 sq km (595 sq mi) new 3D seismic surveying at $11.33 million.

WA-474-P (released as W11-12) on the central Exmouth plateau of the northern Carnarvon basin off Western Australia to Hess Australia (Offshore) Pty Ltd. The company proposed a program of geotechnical studies and 1,045 sq km (403 sq mi) 3D seismic reprocessing at $9.75 million.

WA-475-P (released as W11-13) on the central Exmouth plateau of the northern Carnarvon basin to BHP Billiton Petroleum (Australia) Pty Ltd and Apache Northwest Pty Ltd. The companies proposed a program of 192 sq km (74 sq mi) 3D seismic survey, 884 sq km (341 sq mi) 3D seismic reprocessing, two exploration wells, and geotechnical studies at $107.58 million.

WA-476-P (released as W11-15) in the Exmouth sub-basin of the northern Carnarvon basin to Murphy Australia Oil Pty Ltd. The company proposed a program of 641 sq km (248 sq mi) 3D seismic reprocessing, 100 km (62 mi) 2D seismic survey, and geotechnical studies at $1.8 million.

WA-468-P (released as W10-7) in the Beagle sub-basin of the northern Carnarvon basin to Finder No 14 Pty Ltd. The company proposed a program of 1,200 sq km (463 sq mi) 3D seismic reprocessing, licensing 450 sq km (174 sq mi) reprocessed 3D seismic data, 200 km (124 mi) 2D seismic survey, and geotechnical studies at $1.8 million.

WA-469-P (released as W10-21) on the Exmouth plateau of the northern Carnarvon basin to BHP Billiton Petroleum (Australia) Pty Ltd. The company proposed a program of 923 sq km (356 sq mi) 3D seismic survey, 161 sq km (62 sq mi) 3D seismic reprocessing, and geotechnical studies to an estimated value of $12.25 million.

WA-470-P (released as W10-22) on the Exmouth plateau to BHP Billiton Petroleum (Australia) Pty Ltd. The company proposed a program of 235 sq km (91 sq mi) 3D seismic survey, 721 sq km (278 sq mi) 3D seismic reprocessing, and geotechnical studies at $8.98 million.

VIC/P67 (released as V11-2) in the Otway basin off Victoria to WHL Energy Ltd. The company proposed a program comprising 1,000 km (621 mi) 2D reprocessing, 811 sq km 3D seismic acquisition and processing, 650 km (404 mi) 2D seismic acquisition and reprocessing, two exploration wells, and geotechnical studies at $62.1 million.

VIC/P68 (released as V11-5) in the Gippsland basin off Victoria to Bass Strait Oil Co. Ltd. The company proposed a program of geotechnical studies and 225 sq km (87 sq mi) 3D seismic survey at $3.5 million.

Gravity data study begins

GETECH has begun industry-funded research to enhance the resolution of satellite-derived gravity data used in the search for hydrocarbon-bearing structures under the world's oceans and seas.

The study will determine how, and to what degree, the advanced ocean measurements from the three cycle polar geodetic mission (2011-13) of the CryoSat-2 satellite (with data provided by the European Space Agency, ESA) can improve the accuracy and resolution of satellite--derived gravity data.

The success of the R&D study will pave the way for a global study starting in early 2013, to map all the world's continental margins out to 500 km (311 mi) from shore. This global study will include data from the NASA Jason-1 oceanographic satellite, subject to it going into geodetic mission mode in 2013.


The business of geology and geophysics

Schlumberger has acquired GEDCO, a provider of integrated geophysical survey design software and services. The group will become part of the WesternGeco business unit. GEDCO has developed OMNI 3D seismic survey design and modeling, and VISTA, a 2D/3D seismic data processing package. The group also offers consulting services for 2D and 3D seismic and vertical seismic profile (VSP) solutions.

Looking for quicker calculation of seismic trace attributes from a desktop system, Paradigm has added NVIDIA Maximus technology to the Paradigm 2011 applications suite of processing programs. Maximus combines the visualization and interactive design capability of NVIDIA Quadro GPUs and the high-performance computing power of NVIDIA Tesla GPUs in a single workstation. Its CUDA parallel computing platform and programming model make it suitable for the high-performance computing performed by Paradigm's image enhancement tools, the company says.

Baker Hughes has released JewelSuite 2012, its latest version of reservoir modeling software. JewelSuite 2012 now offers a complete workflow for unconventional plays. The new software includes Blue Marble Geographics' GeoCalc coordinate transformation library. It also has enhanced connectivity to Computer Modelling Group's IMEX and GEM reservoir simulators, also using Tartan and LGR gridding. This latest version enhances Multi Point Statistics through a more intuitive interface with faster run times, and enables batch processing of property modeling, says Baker Hughes.

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