Santos makes significant gas find at Crown off Western Australia
Sydney (Platts)--19Nov2012/342 am EST/842 GMT
A "significant gas discovery" made at the Crown-1 well in the Browse
Basin offshore Western Australia could eventually be developed using either
onshore liquefaction facilities or a floating LNG project, operator Santos
"There are no conditions attached to how we commercialize [the
discovery]," Santos Vice President Western Australia and Northern Territory
John Anderson told journalists in a conference call Monday after the company
announced the find. "We continue to aggregate gas in the region."
Anderson said the proposed Browse Basin LNG precinct at James Price
Point, LNG facilities in the northern Australian city of Darwin, and FLNG
were all potential development options for the gas. "We are not short of
opportunities," he added.
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The Crown-1 well, in permit WA-274-P, is located about 500 km (310
miles) north of the town of Broome, around 60 km west of the Ichthys field
and 20 km east of the Poseidon field, in water depth of 440 meters. Ichthys
is held by Japan's Inpex and is being developed to supply an LNG project in
the northern Australian city of Darwin, and the Poseidon discovery is owned
by ConocoPhillips and Karoon Gas Australia.
Santos holds a 30% operating stake in WA-274-P. Inpex is one of its
partners in the permit, with 20%, alongside US major Chevron with 50%.
Wireline logging has to date confirmed 61 meters of net gas pay in the
Jurassic-aged Montara, Plover and Malita reservoirs between 4,873 and 4,998
meters, Santos said. The well, which has not intersected a gas-water contact,
is being drilled to a proposed total depth of 5,200 meters.
Pressure data from multiple points indicates gas would be expected to
flow at a high rate, and multiple condensate-bearing gas samples have been
recovered to surface, the company added.
Anderson declined to be drawn on the potential size of the Crown
discovery, but said Santos was hoping to be able to release an indicative
range later this week.
Santos is a minority partner in the existing 3.5 million mt/year
ConocoPhillips-operated Darwin LNG plant, which has government approvals in
place for an expansion to 10 million mt/year. There is also potential for an
expansion of capacity on the pipeline to be built by Inpex from the Ichthys
field to the 8.4 million mt/year LNG plant it is currently building in Darwin.
Santos is also studying the development of an FLNG facility at its
Petrel-Tern-Frigate gas fields in the Bonaparte Basin off northern Australia.
The company owns 40% of that project, which is 60% held by operator GDF Suez.
HOPEFUL OF MORE GAS FINDS IN BROWSE BASIN
Santos is meanwhile hopeful of finding more gas in the Browse Basin in
an upcoming exploration program in WA-408-P, the permit adjoining the Crown
acreage, where it has agreed to take a 30% interest. The WA-408-P exploration
permit is operated and 50% held by France's Total, with Murphy Oil
Corporation holding the remaining 20%.
The WA-208-P partners have committed to an initial drilling program
including Dufresne-1 and Bassett West-1, which will follow the Crown-1
Santos has good relationships with other operators in the northwest of
Australia, such as its Darwin LNG cohort ConocoPhillips and Total, which
partners the company in its Gladstone LNG project on Australia's east coast.
"There are a number of parties in the region we'd be working very closely
with," Anderson said.
--Christine Forster, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Wendy Wells, email@example.com