Oil and gas explorer Apache has entered into an agreement to farm in to the WA-388-P permit offshore Western Australia.

The permit, which is located north of the Pluto, Wheatstone, Gorgon & North West Shelf fields, contains a portfolio of play types and seven prospects have been identified ranging in potential size from 0.3 to 2.8 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of prospective gas resource.

Seismic amplitude anomalies evident in the 3D seismic data are likely direct hydrocarbon indicators, suggesting the presence of gas by analogy with nearby fields and discoveries.

Apache will obtain a 40% interest in the WA-388-P permit by paying 100% of the first exploration well (up to an agreed cap), and 100% of the well test costs (up to an agreed cap) if the joint venture of the permit approves testing the well.

The company will replace Oilex, an Australian oil & gas exploration and production company, as the permit operator.

Apache has contracted the Stena Clyde drilling rig to drill the first exploration well, which will target a prospect in the Intra Mungaroo channel zone and is expected to spud in early 2011.