Beach gets green light for Otway exploration well

Beach Energy’s Lattice Energy has received approval from the Australian offshore regulator to drill the Artisan exploration well, which is located in the Otway Basin, offshore Australia. 

Ocean Onyx rig; Source: Diamond Offshore

The regulator, NOPSEMA, said on Tuesday that the company’s environment plan for the Artisan-1 well had been accepted. The plan came under assessment in August 2019.

Lattice proposes to drill a single exploration well, with the option to suspend and develop pending reservoir analysis, in Commonwealth waters of the Otway Basin approximately 32 km off Victoria’s south-west coast.

The Artisan-1 well is proposed to be drilled by a semi-submersible mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU). The Ocean Onyx is currently proposed to undertake this drilling activity. The Ocean Onyx is a conventionally moored, non-self-propelled, column-stabilized semi-submersible MODU owned and operated by the Diamond Offshore.

The proposed Artisan-1 well location is at a water depth of approximately 71 m. The operational area for the drilling program has been defined as a 2 km radius around the well whilst the MODU is moored on location. The 2 km radius encompasses both the outer extent of mooring equipment on the seabed and the 500 m rig safety exclusion zone (RSEZ).

The drilling activity was planned to start in 4Q 2019 or, since that period has passed, in 1Q 2020 with drilling expected to take approximately 35 to 55 days, depending on the final work program and potential operational delays.

The Artisan-1 well maybe suspended for future production if commercial quantities of hydrocarbons are discovered. In this eventuality, the well will be suspended in accordance with the Well Operations Management Plan (WOMP) and the wellhead will be left in place to facilitate future operations.

Any potential future production drilling of Artisan-1 well will be addressed under a separate Environment Plan (EP). Drilling and support operations will be conducted on a 24-hour basis for the duration of the program.