MELBOURNE, Australia – Melbana Energy has environmental approval from Australian regulator NOPSEMA to conduct a 3D seismic survey over the Beehive prospect in the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, 225 km (140 mi) west of Darwin offshore northwest Australia.
Santos will operate the program pursuant to an operations services agreement and will cover the costs with Total.
Melbana expected a contractor to be appointed soon for the program which it expects will start in July and finish before the end of August. This will involve use of methods and procedures similar to others conducted offshore Australia.
Total and Santos have an option that can be exercised together or individually to acquire an 80% interest in the surroundingWA-488-P permit in return for fully funding the costs of all activities until completion of the first well.
If a commercial discovery follows at Beehive, Melbana will repay carried funding from its share of cash flow from the field.
The survey will assist planning for location of theBeehive-1 well and should help de-risk the prospect, which Melbana claims is potentially the largest yet to be drilled throughout Australia.
It is a Carboniferous-age, 180-sq km (69.5-sq mi) isolated carbonate build up with 400 m (1,312 ft) of mapped vertical relief, thought to be analogous to the giant Tengiz field onshore Kazakhstan, and the same age as the 2011 Ungani-1 oil discovery in the onshore Canning basin, which tested oil at 1,600 b/d.
Beehive is in 40 m (131 ft) water depth, suitable for a jackup rig, within ~75 km (46.6 mi) offshore and, according to Melbana, could be developed using either an FPSO or a pipeline to existing infrastructure.
However, the play type is new and undrilled in the Bonaparte basin.