ExxonMobil hands in revised proposal for Gippsland basin surveys

Oil major ExxonMobil has submitted a revised proposal to Australia’s National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) for a series of geophysical and geotechnical surveys in the Gippsland basin.


In the proposal, ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Esso Australia Resources, stated that it would undertake a series of surveys within 11 existing license areas in the Gippsland basin over the next few years.

According to the proposal, the survey program is required to provide information on several prospective future developments and potential plug and abandonment campaigns.

These include the development of the West Barracouta gas field in the VIC/L1 license and plug and abandonment activities at a number of existing wells in eight licences (VIC/L1, VIC/L2, VIC/L3, VIC/L5, VIC/PL15, VIC/PL17, VIC/L18, and VIC/RL1)

The survey program would also provide information on potential drilling activities inside VIC/L2, VIC/L9, and VIC/L10 licenses as well as additional developments around the existing Kipper facilities in the VIC/L25 license.

According to data provided by NOPSEMA, the survey program began in 2018 at West Barracouta and may continue intermittently until end 2023.

Survey activities are likely to occur over a 2-15 day period at locations within each of the license areas. Water depths within the license areas vary from 36 to 89 meters.

NOPSEMA stated that geophysical methods proposed were based on conventional techniques and include single beam echo sounder, multi-beam echo sounder, side-scan sonar, sub-bottom profiler including ultrahigh-resolution, and magnetometer.

Geotechnical sampling potentially includes rotary core sampling to 80 meters below the seabed, in-situ penetration testing to 80 meters below the seabed, piston coring or vibracoring between 3-6 meters below the seabed

According to the offshore regulator, the proposed survey program will be completed in multiple stages using different vessels.

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