New wave for North West Shelf

Oil from Phoenix South

By Courtney Pearson

April 2, 2015

LAST year’s significant Phoenix South discovery could trigger a renaissance on the North West Shelf and be a catalyst for exploration in the area, Carnarvon Petroleum chief executive Adrian Cook told AOG delegates.

Carnarvon Petroleum and joint venture partner Apache Corporation confirmed that oil sampled from the Phoenix South-1 well in the Canning Basin was exceptionally good quality light oil, and was estimated to contain up to 300 million barrels at the time of its discovery in August.

“This new wave of exploration will be aimed at identifying new play types in new areas that have been previously overlooked, or that simply weren’t explored because they were considered too small, too difficult or sub-economic at the time,” Mr Cook said.

Mr Cook said its true size and scale was still being calculated and the potential recoverable reserves of oil have not yet been quantified.

“This process will take some time to complete, and we’re not going to rush it,” he said.

The joint venture has planned to drill the Roc-1 well later this year; it is expected to be more prospective than Phoenix South because its location in shallower water and target sands, with a larger target structure.

“If Roc turns out to be successful, we will be keen to move quickly to appraise the field and progress towards commercialisation,” Mr Cook said.

The joint venture’s seismic program is underway, and once the new Capreolus program is complete it will have 10,000 square kilometres of the 22,000sqkm Phoenix blocks covered by seismic data.

Carnarvon originally hoped to make a gas discovery but instead encountered four oil columns in the Phoenix South-1 well.

“It was a sublime moment, but the moment doesn’t last very long.”

Following the find, the oil price has plummeted and the company’s share price is back to what it was pre-discovery.

“There have been moments when I’ve scratched my head and wondered if the discovery ever happened, but to be honest I’m not concerned about that now because we’re in such great shape,” Mr Cook said.

The WA-435-P and WA-437-P permits are held in joint venture with operator Apache (40 per cent), Carnarvon Petroleum (20 per cent), Finder Exploration (20 per cent) and JX Nippon (20 per cent).