Santos Wins Duntroon Permit Offshore Australia

Santos has been awarded an exploration permit for the Duntroon prospect offshore South Australia's Eyre Peninsula. Federal Resources Minister, Ian Macfarlane, and SA Minister for Mineral Resources Development, Paul Holloway expect this award to generate investment of more than $12 million.

The new permit (EPP 32) covers 5315 square kilometers about 40 kilometers south of the Eyre Peninsula. It lies in Commonwealth waters which are jointly administered with the South Australian Government.

"The Duntroon Basin is a frontier exploration province which has been attracting increased interest in recent years. Previous exploration has shown there could be a working petroleum system but research has been limited and no commercial discoveries have yet been made," said Mr. Macfarlane.

"This program will deliver the new seismic, studies and drilling necessary to understand better how this petroleum system works. Santos work in this region will help unlock the mysteries of the Duntroon Basin," he said.

The permit area straddles Australia's continental shelf where water depths vary from 50 to 3300 meters. This area was part of the re-released acreage that closed for bidding in October 2002.

"It's pleasing to see the exploration industry is active in Australia, in a variety of prospectivities and water depths. The permit areas awarded over the past six months range from frontier to mature provinces and will significantly increase our knowledge of Australia's vast offshore sedimentary basins," said Mr. Macfarlane.

"Continuing deep water exploration programs to the west of this permit will further enhance our understanding of this area. Work in this frontier petroleum area will help enhance the future energy supplies of South Australia, and Australia as a whole," he said.

Santos Offshore Pty Ltd (100%, operator), has proposed a guaranteed program for the first three years of studies, mapping and AVO modelling, 350 line-km of long offset 2D seismic survey, and mapping and data evaluation at an estimated cost of $2.2m. The company has also proposed a secondary program of studies and 1 well at an estimated cost of $9.8m. The permit was awarded on December 13, 2002. There were no other bids for the area.