Victoria Spuds Lightning-1

Victoria Petroleum on Friday began drilling its Lightning-1 well in permit PEL 115 of Australia's Cooper Basin.

Victoria, the operator with 40 percent interest in the well, said Monday morning that the operation was preparing to run 9 5/8 inch casing at 645 meters. Other participants include Impress Ventures (40 percent) and Roma Petroleum (20 percent).

Lightning-1 will test the Greater Mirage Murta oil pool concept of a potential 23 million barrels of oil in place over the Mirage-Lightning area. In addition, it will test the deeper Permian Patchawarra section with the interpreted potential to contain a recoverable target of up to 130 billion cubic feet of gas or 18 million barrels of oil--if oil and gas are present.

Lightning-1's primary targets are the Murta sands at 1,307 meters and the stacked sands of the early Permian Patchawarra formation over the interval 1,927–1,967 meters. Its secondary targets are the sands of the McKinlay, Namur, basal Birkhead, and Hutton formations.

Victoria said that it expects to drill the well to a total depth of 2,007 meters in two weeks from the start of drilling. The joint-venture partners were encouraged by the recovery of approximately one barrel of oil cut mud oil from sands of the Patchawarra Formation in Plotosus-1, 3 kilometers to the northeast and down dip of Lightning-1. Their belief in Lightning-1's hydrocarbon potention was bolstered by the discovery of up dip gas shows in the previously drilled Burruna-1 in basement overlain by the sealing Murteree shale. The shale seals the Patchawarra Formation in the adjacent major Permian oil and gas fields 10 kilometers to the north of Lightning-1. Burruna-1 lies two kilometers to the southwest of the Lightning-1.

"Victoria Petroleum is pleased to have started drilling at Lightning-1 to prove that the shallow Murta formation in this well, if oil is present, may be part of the Greater Mirage Murta oil pool," remarked John Kopcheff, Victoria's managing director. "While we expect oil exploration success at the shallow Murta formation level, exploration success in the deeper Permian section, if oil, would prove up a new significant Permian oil resource in the southern part of the permit."

"If exploration success proves up Permian gas, this will be significant," added Kopcheff. "Lightning-1 is 400 meters from the open-access Moomba to Sydney gas pipe line, thus ensuring ready access to the Sydney gas market."