These two permits complement the previously announced grant of block T/46P in the adjacent Tasmanian waters and give Great Artesian 100% ownership of an entire oil play on the southern flank of the world-class Gippsland Basin. This grant also makes Great Artesian the largest net offshore exploration acreage holder in the basin.
The addition of these areas is a continuation of Great Artesian's "brownfield" exploration philosophy of searching for additional hydrocarbons in mature petroleum provinces. The Gippsland Basin is one of Australia's premier petroleum producing areas, having already produced in excess of 3.8 billion barrels of oil and 6.5 TCF of natural gas.
The exploration concept (on the southern margin of the Gippsland Basin) is similar to the increasingly successful play that Great Artesian is pursuing on the western margin of South Australia's onshore Cooper Basin, targeting hydrocarbons that are trapped as they migrate away from the main basin depocenter toward the basin margin.
Summary of Great Artesian's Offshore Gippsland Basin Permits Permit Number of Blocks Area (Sq km) VIC/P63 24 1316 VIC/P64 36 2039 T/46P 81 4942 Total 141 8297
For a modest total exposure of $3.15 ($1.05 million per block) over the Primary Term of three years, Great Artesian will control an entire oil play (8300 sq km) with a commitment work program of seismic reprocessing and two rounds of 2D seismic acquisition amounting to 1500km in total. Having such a large acreage holding on the margin of the world-class, multi-billion barrel Gippsland Basin is a huge asset boost for Great Artesian and controlling the entire play will provide exploration efficiencies in carrying out the work program.
There has been little or no exploration in this area over the past thirty years, with the most recent well, Sailfish-1, drilled in 1971. Great Artesian is targeting structural and stratigraphic traps of the Latrobe Group as it onlaps basement and pinches-out towards the basin margin. It is expected to be sealed both vertically and laterally by the overlying Lakes Entrance Formation.
The Latrobe Group and Lakes Entrance Formation are a proven reservoir/seal combination in the existing fields within the Gippsland Basin. This is a potential company making play for Great Artesian. While the currently identified leads offer only modest reserve potential, the mega-stratigraphic play, at the ultimate pinchout edge of the Latrobe reservoir unit, has the scope to achieve reserves in the order of hundreds of millions to a billion barrels of oil.
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