Australia's WHL Pushes Forward Development Plans for La Bella Field

Australia's WHL Energy said Tuesday in a statement that it has fast-tracked its 3D seismic acquisition program at the offshore VIC/P67 permit in the Otway Basin, South Australia, by 12 months due to "strong industry interest in the asset."

The permit contains the La Bella gas and condensate field discovery and substantial near field exploration potential, data from WHL shows. The undeveloped La Bella gas field, said WHL, contains about 150 billion cubic feet of contingent resources. 

The company said that it is in a partner selection process for the acquisition program, which is expected to take around three months. The company aims to start the acquisition program – which involves buying and assessing 313 square miles (811 square kilometers) of 3D seismic over the permit – in April 2013.

Commenting on the company's development plans for the permit, a spokesperson representing WHL told Rigzone through a telephone interview that the company is likely to start with drilling one exploration and appraisal well.

"A second well could be drilled if results from the first well are positive," the spokesperson added. 

WHL added in its statement that the acquisition program is subject to regulatory environmental approvals.

"We do not expect to run into any problems with securing regulatory environmental approvals as studies pertaining to the permit are in well-advanced stages," the spokesperson said. 

The area surrounding the permit is already home to the Santos operated Casino development, the Origin operated Otway gas project, the BHPB operated Minerva development and TRU Energy's lona gas plant. 

The acquisition program does not yet have a valued tagged to it.

"Different farm-in agreements will modify the value of the program, so we can only be certain of the program's value after we select the partner and decide on the conditions governing the partnership agreement," the spokesperson explained. 



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