The permit WA-541-P lies to the west of the Dorado, Roc and Phoenix South hydrocarbon discoveries in the Bedout Sub-basin


Image: Santos and BP will undertake exploration activities at the new permit offshore WA. Photo: courtesy of D Thory from Pixabay.

Australian energy firm Santos, in a joint venture with British oil major BP, has been awarded new acreage which lies adjacent to its existing oil discovery, Dorado, offshore Northern Carnarvon Basin in Western Australia (WA).

The 50:50 joint venture will undertake exploration activities at the new permit, WA-541-P, which lies to the west of the recent Dorado, Roc and Phoenix South hydrocarbon discoveries in the Bedout Sub-basin.

WA-541-P permit covers 6,964km² area

The southern portion of Santos-operated WA-541-P is adjacent to the Dorado structural-stratigraphic play trend. The permit covers 6,964km².

Santos managing director and CEO Kevin Gallagher said: “Santos is pleased to have been awarded this acreage on-trend with the Dorado discovery, a now proven world-class, liquids-rich petroleum system with high-quality reservoirs.”

“We are excited at the opportunity to increase our exposure to this highly prospective region, leveraging our offshore operating expertise and building on the success of our 2019 drilling campaign to pursue further growth through our activities in Western Australia.”

“We are proud to be the biggest producer of domestic gas in Western Australia, powering the industries that power Australia.”

Claimed to be the premier hydrocarbon basin of Australia, the Northern Carnarvon Basin covers about 500,000km² and lies mainly offshore, extending north from the Pilbara Craton to the continental–oceanic crust boundary.

In July 2019, Santos secured approval for an environmental management plan (EMP) for the Tanumbirini 2H and Inacumba 1/1H wells in Exploration Permit 161 in the McArthur Basin.

The drilling EMP approval, which was given by the Northern Territory (NT) Environment and Natural Resources Minister Eva Lawler, was the first one awarded for onshore shale gas exploration in the Northern Territory since the lifting of the moratorium in early 2018.

Exploration Permit 161 is located approximately 350km south-east of Katherine in the McArthur Basin, east of Daly Waters. Santos is the operator of the permit with 75% interest.