Esso & BHP Billiton plan big Bass Strait drilling program
Posted: 24 October 2003
Esso Australia and BHP Billiton are planning to commence what is
expected to be the largest combined exploration and production drilling
program in the Gippsland Basin since the 1980s.
The Esso-BHP Billiton 50/50 joint venture is in advanced discussions
to contract a drilling rig for a long-term drilling program to commence
in February 2004. The rig will be capable of drilling wells from
either existing platforms or in new locations. Depending on the
success of initial wells, the program is expected to extend into
The planned drilling program is based on data acquired in 2002
by the largest proprietary 3D seismic survey ever undertaken in
The survey covered more than 3,900km2 and the objectives were to
identify new exploration prospects, provide data to better plan
for the depletion of producing fields, and to assist in bringing
small, undeveloped discoveries into production.
Drilling will target both oil and gas opportunities, and all planned
wells will be located within existing production license areas.
"We believe there are new oil and gas resources still to be
found in the Gippsland Basin. From an exploration viewpoint, the
program is all about finding new potential in a mature basin,"
said Doug Schwebel, Esso Australia Exploration Director.
"In particular, the joint venture will be looking to leverage
its ability to commercialise smaller resources due to their proximity
to existing infrastructure. This will also help extend the productive
life span of the existing platforms and pipelines," added Steve
Bell, BHP Billiton Petroleum President of Exploration and Development.
In the 34 years since the Esso / BHP Gippsland joint venture began
production in October 1969, more than 3.5 billion barrels of oil
and 5 trillion cubic feet of gas have been produced. Current production
is around 140 thousand barrels per day of crude and 570 million
cubic feet per day of gas.
Over the past five years, overall capital expenditures associated
with the joint venture's Gippsland operations, including onshore
facilities, have exceeded A$ 400 million annually, making it one
of Australia's largest ongoing oil and gas investment programs.
For more information see http://www.bhpbilliton.com.
Posted by Richard Price,
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