Beach Petroleum Kicks Off Major Offshore Australia Drilling Campaign

One of the most intensive offshore oil and gas drilling campaigns mounted in Australia by Beach Petroleum is underway this week in waters just north of Tasmania and in Victoria's far west.

The campaign will involve Beach drilling three wells back-to-back in the Bass and Otway Basins in a schedule expected to involve the leading producer and explorer in non-stop drilling in Australia's southern waters until the end of January.

Beach has been previously involved in a number of offshore forays in the North West Shelf, New Zealand and in the Gippsland Basin where it is a current 30% partner in the producing Basker Manta oil and gas fields. It is presently participating (subject to final Ministerial consent) in an appraisal well on the Burtocal field in the Gulf of Suez, Egypt with BP as operator.

"Our participation in the Basker Manta project shows the exploration balance, level of risk and portfolio spread we are seeking to achieve in our offshore endeavours," Beach Petroleum's Managing Director, Reg Nelson, said. "That project has delivered, through both asset realisation and a significant production contribution," Nelson continued. "The decision to now drill three wells in lightly explored areas of two producing southern Australian provinces, provides the same opportunities as Basker Manta did to generate long-term, value adding offshore assets able to underpin revenue and net profit.

"Strategically, all three locations are close to key domestic energy markets or supply infrastructure so any commercial success will deliver significant outcomes to our expanding southern Australian operations."

 All three wells will be drilled by the West Triton jackup rig with Beach as the operator across the full program.

Offshore northern Tasmanian coast

The first two wells are located in the Bass Basin but just offshore the Tasmanian coastline northeast of Launceston in shallow waters less than 100 meters deep.

The Basin lies adjacent the Gippsland Basin, home to Beach's producing Basker Manta assets, and shares a similar geologic and hydrocarbon system.

The first well, PeeJay-1 in T/39P, in which Beach is earning a 50% interest, is targeting a potential P10 of 57 million barrels of recoverable oil, in the Upper Eastern View Group. It will be drilled to a depth of 2,133 meters.
Interests in PeeJay-1 are Beach (50%) and Benaris Petroleum N.V. (50%).

The rig will then move a short distance to the northwest, to T/38P, to drill the 2,088 meter deep Spikey Beach-1 well. Beach is earning an 80% interest, with Galveston Mining (Cue Energy) 10% and Exoil 10%.

This well will target a potential P10 of 33 million barrels of recoverable oil, also in the Eastern View Coal Measures.

The program will then shift to a gas focus with the West Triton rig moving to the Fermat prospect in VIC/P46, a planned 3,500 meter deep well lying in waters of less than 40 meters depth and only 11 kilometers offshore to the west of Portland in far western Victoria.

Fermat-1 will test a large gas prospect with potential reserves of well over 1TCF. Interests in the well comprise Beach (50%), Mitwell Energy Resources (25%) and Essential Petroleum Resources (25%).

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