Santos confirms significant offshore gas find at Corvus area, W. Australia

  • Exploration & Production

Australian oil and gas company Santos has said it has successfully drilled the Corvus-2 appraisal well confirming “a significant gas resource” in the Carnarvon Basin, offshore Western Australia.

Noble Tom Prosser rig / Image source: Noble Corporation
Noble Tom Prosser rig / Image source: Noble Corporation

The well, located in petroleum permit WA-45-R, in which Santos has a 100 percent interest, is approximately 90 kilometers northwest of Dampier.

The Corvus-2 well intersected a gross interval of 638 meters, one of the largest columns ever discovered across the North West Shelf, Santos said. The well reached a total depth of 3,998 meters.

Wireline logging to date has confirmed 245 meters of net hydrocarbon pay across the target reservoirs in the North Rankin and Mungaroo formations, between 3,360 and 3,998 meters.
Higher permeability zones than encountered in Corvus-1 have been observed from initial pressure sampling completed in the well. Compared to Corvus-1, initial samples acquired from Corvus-2 indicate a significantly higher Condensate Gas Ratio of up to 10 bbl/mmscf and a similar CO2 content of 7 percent, Santos added.

Corvus-2 is approximately three kilometers southwest of Corvus-1, which was drilled in 2000. The water depth at the location is 63 meters. The field is approximately 28 kilometers from the Reindeer platform, which delivers gas to the Devil Creek domestic gas plant near Karratha, and about 62 kilometers to a Varanus Island tie-in point. Santos has a 100 percent interest in all these facilities.

The well was drilled using the jack-up drilling rig, Noble Tom Prosser, and will be plugged and abandoned as planned once logging operations are completed.

Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Gallagher said: “Corvus-2 has delivered a fantastic result and has opened up a number of additional exploration opportunities in the region. It is particularly exciting to have realized higher liquids content and significantly bigger resource volume than we expected.”

“Corvus could be tied back to either our Devil Creek or Varanus Island gas plants, where it has the potential to increase the utilization of our existing facilities as well as provide backfill and extend plateau well into the 2030s.”

“It’s a great start to our 2019 offshore drilling campaign, and it also highlights the value of the Quadrant acquisition and our strategy of pursuing upstream brownfield growth opportunities around existing infrastructure. The rig will now move north to commence the Dorado appraisal program,” Gallagher said.

WoodMac: Corvus is Carnarvon basin’s largest gas discovery in a decade


Commenting on Santos’ announcement on Tuesday, Wood Mackenzie senior analyst Daniel Toleman said: “Based on limited information, our initial estimate is a 2.5 tcf gas and 25 mmbbl condensate resource. This will be the largest gas discovery in the Carnarvon basin since the Satyr-4 exploration well drilled by Chevron in 2009.

“Santos’ stated 254m net pay is indicative of a very large gas resource in place, but recoverable volumes will be dependant on the size of the structure, area extent and sand thickness.

“Santos suggested that Corvus will supply the domestic market. The field is near to Santos’ Reindeer development and if the resource comes in over 2 tcf, we believe Santos will explore opportunities to export the gas as LNG. This is due to Corvus’ proximity to the Burrup Peninsula, and a well-supplied domestic market in the short-to-medium term.

“The North West Shelf has LNG production capacity available from 2021. The Corvus discovery could fill this ullage. If an LNG backfill development is to progress, we expect Santos will look to sell down, as it currently holds 100% in the find. One of the North West Shelf partners would be a logical entrant.

“Quadrant’s exploration portfolio is shaping up to be a good buy for Santos. Dorado was the third largest oil discovery in Western Australia’s history and Corvus is likely to be Santos’ largest offshore gas discovery ever.”

Offshore Energy Today Staff


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