Australia-based oil and gas company Cooper Energy has commenced drilling of onshore exploration well Sawpit-2 in PEL-495 in Otway Basin, Australia.

The exploration well Sawpit-2 is situated 4km to the northeast of the township of Penola, in the southeast of South Australia, and 350m to the north of Sawpit-1.

Cooper is drilling the well targeting the Crayfish group, which encountered oil shows in Sawpit-1 and will intersect the prospective section up-dip of the Sawpit-1 location.

The company has planned to cut two cores over the Sawpit and Casterton Shales to evaluate the potential of the unconventional targets.

Cooper Energy executive director Hector Gordon said the company is drilling the well to investigate the Sawpit Sandstone up-dip of Sawpit-1 and to evaluate the unconventional potential of the Sawpit and Casterton Shales in the greater Penola Trough.

"This well marks the beginning of a busy drilling period for Cooper Energy with eight wells (Hammamet West-3 in Tunisia, six wells in PEL 92 and Sawpit-2) planned to be drilled before the end of the financial year," Gordon added.

The well will be drilled to a total depth of 2,558m and is expected to take 30 days to complete.

The partners of the PEL-495 are Cooper Energy, the operator with 65% interest and Beach Energy with 35% interest.