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Australia: BP's Closely Watched Ironbark Offshore Well Fails to Deliver

December 29, 2020

Ocean Apex - Image by Paul Ling/MarineTraffic.com
Ocean Apex - Image by Paul Ling/MarineTraffic.com

BP's closely watched Ironbark exploration well offshore W. Australia, which partners had hoped could unearth 15tcf of gas, has not encountered hydrocarbons, not in significant volume anyway.

Beach Energy, BP's partner in the project, said Tuesday that the well had been drilled to a total depth of 5,618 meters measured depth (MD), intersecting the primary target of the Mungaroo Formation at 5,275 meters (MD). 

"No significant hydrocarbon shows were encountered in the target sandstones. The exploration well will be plugged and abandoned, in-line with pre-drill planning," Beach Energy said.

Partners in the WA-359-P offshore block, where the well is located are, are BP (Operator, 42.5%), Cue Energy (21.5%), Beach Energy (21%) and New Zealand Oil & Gas (15%).

The Ironbark well, spudded on October 31, was drilled using Diamond Offshore's Ocean Apex semi-submersible drilling rig. The well tested what had been described as the world-class Ironbark gas prospect, which had the best estimate of 15Tcf prospective recoverable gas resource.

“Bugger…. a very disappointing result for us all. Ironbark was a world scale prospect in a highly prospective address, and it needed drilling. We got an answer, but it was not the one we wanted." NZOG CEO Andrew Jefferies said.

He added: "While the operations are not over yet, I’d like to acknowledge the Operator BP for their safe and professional operations throughout the drilling of the well, as well as our JV partners and our shareholders for their continuing support.”

In a separate statement on Tuesday, partner Cue Energy said that when operations are complete, analysis of the well data and results will be undertaken over the coming months to understand the implications for the Deep Mungaroo play.

Exploration permit WA-359-P is located in the Carnarvon Basin, offshore Western Australia approximately 50km from existing North West Shelf LNG infrastructure. The Ironbark well was drilled in a water depth of around 300 meters.

(Image: Cue Exploration)



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