The well, the first in the Company's eight prospect exploration program for 2003 in the South Australian section of the Cooper Basin, is currently being cased after reaching 1,957 meters total depth over the weekend. Preliminary wireline log interpretation indicates 6 - 9 meters of net porous sandstone within a gross oil column of 18 meters between the 1,611 meters and 1,629 meters interval. A drill stem test conducted last week between the 1,608 and 1,622 meter interval recovered 17.5 barrels of oil and 6 barrels of muddy oil from the upper 10 meters of this oil column. The untested lower part of the column appears on wireline logs to be of higher quality than the upper in terms of reservoir characteristics.
Participants in Christies-1 are Beach Petroleum (75% and Operator) and Cooper Energy (25%).
The joint venture is now considering bringing forward the spud date for Brighton-1, a prospect immediately south of Christies-1 which had been contingent on a successful Christies-1 outcome. "Early estimates of recoverable oil in the lower Birkhead Formation of the Christies-1 structure are in the range of 0.2 to 1.0 million barrels from oil- in-place of up to 2.7 million barrels," Beach Petroleum's Managing Director, Mr. Reg Nelson, said. "A more complete evaluation of likely recoverable reserves will be made following extended production later in the year," Mr. Nelson said.
"The indicated gross oil column of approximately 18 meters suggests that the Christies-1 structure may be filled to capacity with hydrocarbons at the lower Birkhead level. "As Christies-1 is only 10 kilometers southwest of our producing Sellicks-1 field discovered last year, this reinforces the probability that any structural traps east of Christies are also filled, and that traps further to the west - particularly those closer to Christies-1 - now have a much higher chance of success.
"On all accounts, this outcome, in addition to data resulting from our 2002 successes, reaffirms our belief that oil has flowed strongly through the Basin's western flanks. "This has enormous implications for further exploration potential in the Western Cooper Basin Flank - a largely untested perimeter area of the Cooper Basin."
Mr. Nelson said Beach Petroleum plans to next drill Moana-1 and Carrickalinga-1 (both Beach 40% and Operator and Great Artesian Oil and Gas 60%), to the east and southeast of Christies-1. "It is most likely we would then drill Brighton-1 after these two wells," Mr Nelson said.
Wireline logging of Christies-1 has also indicated the presence of approximately 2 meters of oil-bearing sands within the Namur Formation, at shallower depths. "At this stage, this zone is considered insufficiently thick to warrant further testing," Mr. Nelson said. "A clean-up flow test of Christies-1 will be conducted after the well has been completed later this week with extended production testing expected to commence within three months following government approvals and the installation of production facilities. "We will use the nearby recently established Sellicks facility as an operational base for Christies-1."
Beach Petroleum is spending $5 million on its 2003 exploration program in the province.
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