Photo: Illustration; Source: Santos

Santos’ Bedout basin 12 well plan under assessment

Australian offshore regulator NOPSEMA has started an assessment of Santos’ recently submitted environmental plan for the drilling of up to 12 wells in the Bedout basin located offshore Australia.

Under the environment plan submitted on 7 June 2021, Santos proposes to drill up to 12 wells in three permit areas – WA-437-P, WA-438-P, and WA-541-P – located in the Bedout Basin on the North West Shelf (NWS) in water depths of approximately 30 to 110 meters.


NOPSEMA said on Friday, 11 June 2021, that Santos’ environmental plan for the Bedout Basin drilling program was under assessment.

The permit areas are wholly within offshore Commonwealth waters, approximately 9 kilometres north from the nearest shoreline (Bedout Island), 50 km from the closest mainland point (De Grey River-mouth) and 99 kilometres from Port Hedland.

The drilling activity will be carried out using a jack-up mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU). A Petroleum Safety Zone of 500 m radius will be established around each well location and be removed once the MODU leaves the area.

A five-year EP validity period is being sought and the EP assumes drilling activities can take place at any time over that period.

The EP provides for drilling, evaluating, well testing, and abandonment activities related to exploration and appraisal drilling utilising a jack-up MODU.

Activities are scheduled to start in 3Q 2021. However, the timing of subsequent activities has not been finalised. Drilling is expected to take approximately 35 to 80 days per well and activities will be conducted 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

It is envisaged that well activities are conducted over multiple campaigns – i.e., a MODU arriving to drill one or more wells in a period between two and six months, after which the MODU leaves the operational area.

Activities included in the EP are MODU and vessel movement and commissioning activities, deployment and recovery of jack-up legs, riserless drilling, drilling with a closed-circulating fluid system, and installing casing strings.

It also includes the operation of a BOP, drilling using water-based drilling fluid systems, use of lost circulation materials; cementing, use and discharge of chemicals and additives for drilling, evaluation, testing and abandonment activities, well evaluation.

During the activities the company will also conduct logging-while-drilling, wireline logging, hydrocarbon sampling, vertical seismic profiling (VSP) and coring, well testing, P&A activities, side-track drilling, re-drilling sections and re-spud, and general MODU operations including MODU refuelling, the use of support vessels, helicopters and remotely operated vehicles.

To remind, Santos submitted an initial environment plan for the drilling plan to NOPSEMA back in mid-April this year.