AC/R1 encompasses the Talbot Field which was discovered in 1989 by Santos with the Talbot-2 appraisal well drilled in 1990. Hardman's initial estimate of recoverable reserves ranges from 4 to 6 million barrels which is currently deemed uneconomic for a "stand alone" development. The adjoining AC/P26 permit was granted in 1998 and is covered by extensive 2D and 3D seismic data. Several leads have been identified in the permit although a decision to drill is not required until May 2004.
Hardman's managing director Ted Ellyard commented: "For the past six months Hardman has been looking for an opportunity to expand the Australian production base beyond our producing assets at the Woodada Gas Field and Jingemia Oil Field in the Northern Perth Basin. This Timor Sea acquisition provides Hardman with upside potential in the event of a commerciality decision for the Talbot Field, which could be driven by the discovery of additional reserves in AC/P26. We intend to take a fresh technical look at this area in preparation for drilling a well next year on one of the prospects close to the Talbot Field"
The WA-316P permit lies in the eastern Timor Sea area within Western Australian waters, 12 kilometers south of the producing Laminaria Field. The license has a well drilling obligation to be satisfied by December 2004. The option held by Hardman will enable it to undertake detailed technical studies of the area before being required to commit to drilling.
Hardman's managing director commented further: "The WA-316P permit fits Hardman's strategy of doing high-quality technical work to identify potentially large reserves. The Timor Sea area has been a challenging exploration frontier for many companies, which has yielded some small and occasionally large discoveries (e.g. Woodside's Laminaria). This acquisition has enabled Hardman to increase its asset base in Australia at a low entry cost, whilst still maintaining the strong momentum to develop the Chinguetti Field in Mauritania."
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