By ERWIN CHLANDA
The oil and gas company Blue Energy Limited has entered into an agreement for exploration in an area roughly the size of England, north-west of Tennant Creek (see map).
Chairman John Ellice-Flint says the company will be exploring for “conventional and unconventional oil and gas”, the former appearing in sandstone and limestone, the latter in shale.
The controversial fracking is sometimes used to recover unconventional oil but Mr Ellice-Flint says horizontal drilling will be the preferred method.
Only exploration, which will take four years and employ 15 to 20 people during the seismic acquisition phase, will determine what form of exploration well will be drilled.
Mr Ellice-Flint is the former CEO and Managing Director of Santos which operates the Mereenie and Palm Valley fields west of Alice Springs, and has recently announced new exploration activity.
He says the industry’s “rejuvenation” can be attributed to the current NT Government being “proactive and very interested in growing the hydrocarbon industry”.
He says the Central Land Council, too, has been “proactive and co-operative” during his time with Santos.
The new ventures are benefiting from new technology, allowing gas and oil production from fields previously thought to be uneconomic.
The new initiative “positions the company ideally to take advantage of the high demand by global energy players for unconventional hydrocarbon acreage.
“The relatively shallow nature of the potential marine Cambrian source rock sequence in the Wiso Basin, suggests that it would still be in the liquids maturation window and thus not a high cost deep drilling target as other shale targets elsewhere in the world can be,” says Mr Ellice-Flint in a report to the Stock Exchange.
“Significantly, we note the widening attention and interest the Northern Territory sedimentary basins are receiving from domestic and international oil companies.
“Statoil, Santos, Central Petroleum, Total, Pangaea and Armour Energy are among a list of companies with adjacent active acreage to Blue Energy’s new Wiso Basin permits.
“We expect the entry into Australia of the large multinational oil and gas companies seeking unconventional exploration acreage will continue, especially given Australia’s favourable fiscal regime, the large acreage positions available and the demonstrated prospectivity of the large under-explored sedimentary basins that this nation possesses.”
The image is a Total Magnetic Intensity Map Northern Territory.
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By ERWIN CHLANDA