Photo: Noble Tom Prosser rig

Noble rig hired to drill two wells near Dorado

Australian energy giant Santos has hired the Noble Corporation-owned Noble Tom Prosser jack-up rig to drill two exploration wells near the Dorado field offshore Australia.

Carnarvon Petroleum, Santos’ partner, confirmed on Wednesday that the Noble Tom Prosser has been hired.

The drilling program for the Pavo-1 and Apus-1 is expected to start in late 2021 with the Pavo-1 well and will be immediately followed by the Apus-1 well.

Both prospects, located in the Bedout basin, have the potential to materially increase the aggregate development resource for the Dorado field if successful.

According to Carnarvon, resources capable of being tied back to existing infrastructure provide significantly enhanced economic outcomes, minimise additional capital investment requirements and shorten time periods to the first production from the tie-back fields.

The Noble Tom Prosser jack-up drilling rig was previously used by Carnarvon and its operating partner in 2019 on the successful Dorado-2 and Dorado-3 appraisal wells.

With the drilling rig contracted, the operator will now proceed to secure the remaining equipment, services, and approvals required to start drilling operations, Carnarvon said.

Pavo-1 well will target 101 mmboe (Pmean, Gross) in a location near the Dorado field and Apus-1 well will target 307 mmboe (Pmean, Gross) also in a location near the Dorado field.

Bassoe Offshore estimates that the Noble Tom Prosser’s day rate under this contract will be $130,000 for a duration of 88 days with start date set for December 2021 and end date for February 2022.

According to Noble’s latest fleet status report, published back in November 2020, the rig has been warm stacked ever since that month.

Carnarvon Managing Director and CEO, Adrian Cook, said: “Given the potential resource size and development aggregation benefits, these two drilling targets provide very attractive and meaningful opportunities for Carnarvon. Today’s news in locking in this rig is another clear point of progression in the advancement of the world class Bedout Basin.

“We are looking forward to an exciting year ahead with multiple drilling operations progressing to plan as well as the advancement of our Dorado development pre-FEED and FEED activities”.