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Shell Sees Delay of Palta-1 Well Drilling Schedule on Weather Conditions

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Shell's drilling schedule of the Palta prospect on Block WA-384-P, offshore Western Australia, has been delayed due to adverse local weather conditions which led to rig downtime, WHL Energy disclosed Wednesday in a published statement.

The Shell-operated Palta-1 well, designed to be drilled in approximately 4,429 feet (1,350 meters) of water to a total depth between 17, 470 feet (5,325 meters) and 18,618 feet (5,675 meters), was spud Oct,14, 2012. Under the original timeframe, the well was slated to take between 60 to 90 days to drill; which implies that drilling works should have been completed early this week.

However, WHL – who owns the adjacent WA-460-P permit – noted on Wednesday that drilling operations are still continuing.

"It is likely that the drilling schedule of Palta-1 is affected by cyclone Narelle passing through the area over the weekend. Under such circumstances, we forecast that the drilling timeline for Palta-1 will be pushed back by at least three days," a spokesperson representing WHL told Rigzone.

Owners of the adjacent WA-460-P permit, all of whom hold equal stakes: WHL, Cott Oil and Gas and Strike Energy, have been keeping a close watch on the progress on Palta-1, as any significant hydrocarbon discovery made by Palta-1 implies that adjacent permits could also hold a similar amount of resource.

Palta-1 is at present being drilled by the Noble Clyde Boudreaux (UDW semisub). The vessel is slated to move on to drill Shell's Prelude project, once it has finishes works on Palta-1.

According to pre-drill data by WHL, the Palta prospect is estimated to contain upwards of 13.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gas if hydrocarbons are in place. An estimated 2.5 Tcf of the Palta gas is mapped by WHL to be located within the WA-460-P permit.

Commenting on the Palta prospect, the spokesperson said: "The Palta prospect is considered as one of the largest undiscovered gas fields in Western Australia. It has the potential to supply enough gas for a whole new liquefied natural gas project in the region."

Shell operates Block WA-384-P with a 75 percent interest, with Mitsubishi Corporation holding the remaining stake in the permit.

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