Santos, Beach Energy in Bonaparte Basin acreage partnership

Australia’s Santos and its compatriot Beach Energy have signed agreements over four offshore blocks in Northern Australia’s Bonaparte Basin.

Santos said on Monday it had reached an agreement “to align the company’s interests, under Santos operatorship, across four exploration permits in the Bonaparte Basin offshore Northern Australia adjacent to a large existing contingent resource.”

“Today’s transaction with Beach Energy will see the companies become 50/50 joint venture partners across NT/P82, NT/P85, NT/P84, and WA-454-P. Santos will operate all four permits,” Santos said.

Permits NT/P82 and NT/P85 are located immediately to the south of the Barossa project area, where Santos acquired the 4,347 km2 Bethany 3D seismic survey in 2018.

As for the NT/P84 and WA-454-P blocks, they’re located near the Petrel/Tern/Frigate field complex in the Petrel sub-basin, where separate agreements with Neptune Energy see Santos move to 100% operated interest in the Tern and Frigate fields and a 40.25% interest in the Petrel field, subject to customary approvals.

Santos’ position in the Bonaparte Basin already includes an 11.5% interest in the Bayu-Undan gas-condensate field and the Darwin LNG plant, as well as a 25% interest in the Barossa field, which is currently in front end engineering and design and is the leading candidate to backfill Darwin LNG.

Drilling within the next few years

Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Gallagher said: “This alignment of equity and operatorship will allow for a more strategic approach to the next phase of exploration in the region.”

“It also reinforces Santos’ significant exploration and existing substantial resource position in offshore Northern Australia and is a good example of industry collaboration aimed at doing things smarter.”

“We continue to chase material resource opportunities offshore Northern Australia to support our established infrastructure position at Darwin, with an eye to both export and domestic markets.”

“The next step for these permits is to evaluate new and existing seismic data to build inventory and define potential targets for drilling within the next few years. Permits NT/P82 and NT/P85, which are located immediately south of our Barossa project, will be a key focus for this work,” Gallagher said.

Santos also holds 100% of WA-459-P and has an option to acquire a 40% operated interest of WA-488-P, where processing of a new 3D seismic survey over the large Beehive prospect is nearing completion.