Geotechnical survey planned ahead of Ironbark drilling

BP has on behalf of Cue Energy submitted an environment plan for a pre-drilling survey at the Ironbark project offshore location in W. Australia.

Ocean Apex rig - Image source: Diamond Offshore Drilling
Ocean Apex rig – Image source: Diamond Offshore Drilling

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.

The activity will take place in the Carnarvon Basin, Block WA-359-P. The area of the activity is ~94NM from Dampier. One vessel will be used for geophysical acquisition (multibeam, side-scan sonar, sub-bottom profiler, magnetometer, high-resolution reflection imaging) and geotechnical sampling (piston or gravity coring and box core sampling).

The summary of the plan on the offshore regulator NOPSEMA’s website did not reveal when the survey would be taking place.

The duration of the activity is between seven and ten days at a water depth of between 200m-300m. The activity will occur in a 4km by 4km area plus 2-kilometer buffer for vessel maneuvering.

Cue Energy in October 2018 entered into a joint venture with BP, Beach Energy, and New Zealand oil and Gas to form a joint venture to drill the Ironbark-1 exploration well in WA-359-P.

Title transfer and joint venture formation are targeted during Q2 2019, and until that time Cue will retain 100% equity in WA-359-P and BP will act as operator on behalf of Cue in relation to planning for the Ironbark-1 well. Cue estimates the Ironbark prospect contains the best estimate of 15tcf of prospective recoverable gas resource.

Survey Map

BP, acting as operator on behalf of Cue Exploration under a coordination agreement, in February, hired Diamond Offshore-owned semi-submersible drilling rig Ocean Apex for the drilling of the Ironbark prospect. Drilling is expected to begin in late 2020, following completion of the Ocean Apex’s other commitments.

Namely, from early May 2019 until late July 2019, the rig will be working for Woodside. Then, from early August until early October 2019, it will be working for Shell on a one-well contract. After that, the rig will once again go work for Woodside from early January 2020 until late September 2020.

Cue said that BP had initiated environmental planning activities for a site survey of the well location and the drilling activities.

If all conditions are satisfied and regulatory approvals received, the coordination agreement provides for BP to become the operator of the permit. The participating interests in the permit will then be: BP (operator) 42.5%; Cue 21.5%; Beach Energy 21%; and, New Zealand Oil & Gas 15% interest.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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