Illustration; Source: Santos

Santos eyes drilling ops off Australia

Australian energy player Santos has submitted an environment plan (EP) to the country’s offshore regulator for drilling activities off the coast of Australia to boost hydrocarbon production.

Illustration; Source: Santos

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) has confirmed that Santos submitted an environment plan to drill and complete the Halyard-2 production well in the Greater East Spar (GES) field located in Commonwealth waters within production licenses WA-13-L and WA-45-L.

The hydrocarbons produced at the GES field are transported through the existing GES subsea infrastructure to Varanus Island (VI) for processing. Located in the North West Shelf (NWS) off Western Australia, the Varanus Hub encompasses the John BrookesSpartan, and Greater East Spar gas fields. Subsea pipelines transport the oil and gas production from these fields to the Varanus Island Hub.

According to Santos, the Halyard-2 well will replace the depleted Halyard-1 well. The environment plan’s scope entails drilling and completion of the Halyard-2 development well to replace the Halyard-1 well along with the disconnection of the existing Halyard-1 Xmas tree production tie-in and installation of long-term cap. In addition, the EP covers the installation of subsea equipment to connect the Halyard-2 well to the existing pipeline end manifold (PLEM) along with pre-commissioning activities.

These activities are scheduled to occur between 2Q 2024 and the end of 2026 within the Carnarvon Basin, approximately 100 km north of Onslow, Western Australia in water depths ranging from approximately 95 m to 125 m. The approximate duration for drilling and completion is around 50 days while subsea installation and pre-commissioning are expected to take about 15 days.

Based on the EP, the operational area does not intercept any Australian Marine Parks (AMPs) or state marine parks, management areas, or reserves since the closest AMP is the Montebello AMP, located approximately 32 km east of the operational area. The closest state marine park is the Montebello Island Marine Park, around 52 km east of the operational area.

Santos is working on multiple projects. A ruling in a recent court challenge of Santos’ Barossa gas project, located in Australian waters off the Northern Territory of Australia, ended up in favor of the Australian giant, enabling it to continue with its planned work to develop the project.

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