Inpex Takes Stake in Offshore Australia Permits

Inpex Holdings Inc. has acquired a 35% interest in the WA-357-P permit and a 20% interest in each of the WA-274-P and WA-281-P permits. All three permits are located in the North West Shelf offshore Western Australia. The acquisitions, made through the company’s Inpex Browse and Inpex Alpha subsidiaries, are subject to the Commonwealth and Western Australian Government approvals.

The WA-274-P covers an area of about 2,760km2, with a water depth ranging 300m to 500m. Inpex Browse acquired a 20% interest from the operator, Coveyork Pty. Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Santos Limited. Santos will have a 30% interest in the permit after the transfer and Unocal Western Australia Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chevron Corp. holds the remaining 50% interest.

The WA-281-P covers an area of about 2,340km2, with a water depth ranging from 150m to 450m. Inpex Browse acquired a 17.3394% from Santos Offshore Pty. Ltd (another wholly owned subsidiary of Santos) and a 2.6606% interest from Beach Petroleum Ltd, giving Inpex Browse a 20% interest in the permit. After the transaction is completed, Santos will hold 72.6606%, Beach will hold 7.3394%, and Inpex Browse will hold 20%.

Currently, both WA-274-P and WA-281-P are in the first year of the renewal terms.

Browse Basin
The WA-274-P and the WA-281-P are in the offshore North West Shelf and located in the petroliferous Browse Basin, in which Inpex Browse has discovered the giant Ichthys field. This field is currently under evaluation for the LNG and liquids commercial development project. The WA-285-P, with its Ichthys gas condensate field, is adjacent to both of the WA-274-P and WA-281-P areas. The discovery of natural gas in both permits would be expected to expand the commercial development in the Ichthys field.

The WA-357-P covers an area of about 481 km2, with a water depth ranging from 200m to 500m. The permit was originally granted to Apache on December 2004 and currently the permit is in the second year of the exploration terms. After this transaction, Apache operates with a 65% interest and Inpex Alpha has a 35% interest.

Carnarvon Basin
Inpex Alpha is producing oil in the Griffin field, and holds discovered and undeveloped oil and gas fields such as the Ravensworth oil field and the Van Gogh/Theo oil field, all these fields in the Carnarvon Basin, Western Australia, where the newly acquired WA-357-P is also located and adjacent to these fields. These undeveloped oil fields are evaluated for future commercial development and the area has much potential for hydrocarbon discovery.

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