Photo: Noble Tom Prosser rig; Source: Carnarvon

Noble rig on the move to drill Santos wells

The Noble Tom Prosser jack-up drilling rig is currently mobilising to drill the Santos-operated Pavo-1 well in the Bedout Basin offshore Australia with drilling operations expected to start within the next week.

The Pavo-1 well is located in permit WA-438-P which is operated by Santos with a 70 per cent interest with Carnarvon holding the remaining 30 per cent interest.

Santos hired the Noble Corporation-owned Noble Tom Prosser jack-up rig to drill two exploration wells near the Dorado field back in March 2021. Drilling operations were initially expected to start in late 2021, however, they were somewhat delayed and, in December 2021, drilling was expected to start this January.

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Carnarvon informed on Friday that the drilling is now expected to start within the next week after allowing for towing and set up. Carnarvon estimates a gross mean recoverable volume of 82 million barrels of liquids and 108 Bcf of gas.

The target reservoir is the Caley Formation sands which flow tested at equipment limits of around 11,000 barrels of oil per day in the Dorado-3 well. The Pavo-1 well is targeting a prospect with the same reservoir type and trap style as the proven Dorado oil, gas and condensate field. This is an attractive prospect, having an estimated one-in-three (34 per cent) geological probability of success.

After drilling the primary Caley target, the joint venture has the option to drill into deeper stratigraphy including the Lower Archer Formation Dumont Member sands, and the Permian carbonates. Information from these intervals will be highly valuable in assessing the substantial exploration potential north and east of the Pavo prospect.

Following completion of the Pavo-1 well, the rig will drill the Apus-1 well which is located around 20km southwest of the Pavo-1 well location.

Carnarvon Managing Director and CEO, Adrian Cook, said: “Targets like Pavo are highly attractive, from an economic and time to develop perspective, given their potential to utilise the nearby Dorado facilities.

“The Dorado development is currently in the advanced engineering and design stage with a joint venture Final Investment Decision (FID) expected to occur later this year. Once FID is achieved, construction of the Dorado production facilities can commence.

“In addition to the benefits of Pavo’s proximity to Dorado, the resource size and Carnarvon’s 30 per cent interest in the resource will make a successful discovery meaningful to Carnarvon.

Cook also pointed out that the Bedout Basin acreage remains one of Carnarvon’s core assets as it contains around 100 prospects at the current time.

“With new 3D seismic acquired in 2021 and this year, we expect to enhance this number and delineate a shortlist for future exploration programmes,” he added.

Carnarvon has recently completed drilling operations offshore Timor-Leste, but the results have been disappointing. The Buffalo-10 well was abandoned with the oil column deemed to be residual and uncommercial. The well was drilled using the Valaris JU-107 jack-up rig.