Australian regulator nods for creation of Ironbark JV

Australian authorities have given their approval for the title transfers of exploration permit WA-359-P, which contains the giant Ironbark gas prospect, to new joint venture partners BP, Beach Energy, and New Zealand Oil & Gas.

Cue, BP, Beach and New Zealand Oil & Gas announced a co-ordination agreement on October 26, 2018, which provided for BP to act as operator on behalf of Cue in planning the Ironbark-1 well prior to title transfers and creation of a formal joint venture.

In a statement on Thursday, May 23 Cue Energy said that the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA) had notified Cue of the approval of title transfers to BP, Beach, and New Zealand Oil & Gas and the approval and registration of other documentation associated with the formation of a joint venture between the parties.

Cue CEO Matthew Boyall says the approvals are a milestone achievement for Cue and complete the outstanding conditions of agreements with BP, Beach, and New Zealand Oil & Gas.

“The title transfer and documentation approvals satisfy the final conditions of previously announced agreements with BP Developments Australia, Beach Energy and New Zealand Oil & Gas to form a joint venture to drill the Ironbark prospect, which has a best estimate of 15 Tcf of prospective recoverable gas.”

“Completion of the agreements is expected to occur shortly and will start the funding obligations of the other parties towards Cue’s well cost and include $A1.54 million of past cost re-imbursement to Cue from Beach and New Zealand Oil & Gas”

“BP will become operator of WA-359-P and continue with the planning and execution of the Ironbark-1 exploration well, which is due to be drilled in late 2020.”

BP has already secured a Diamond Offshore-owned drilling rig to drill the Ironbark prospect. Namely, the 2014-built Ocean Apex semi-submersible rig has been contracted to drill the Ironbark well.

On completion under the agreements, the WA-359-P Joint Venture participating interests will be: BP (operator) 42.5%; Cue 21.5%; Beach 21%; and, New Zealand Oil & Gas 15% interest.

Exploration permit WA-359-P is located in the Carnarvon Basin, offshore Western Australia. The Ironbark-1 well is expected to drill to 5500 meters. It will be the first test of the Ironbark prospect.

BP is currently preparing an Environment Plan for the Ironbark-1 well site survey and drilling activities. A small scale geotechnical and geophysical site survey aims to confirm that a future well location is positioned on flat seabed, in an area free of seabed debris and shallow gas pockets.

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