Australian offshore regulator has granted Melbana Energy the approval to suspend the deadline for completion of the current WA-488-P permit year work obligations by 15 months.
The offshore WA-448-P block contains the Beehive prospect, described as “potentially the largest undrilled hydrocarbon prospect in Australia.”
Melbana said on Tuesday that the approval by National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA) extended the work obligations, which include drilling an exploration well, to December 21, 2020.
The notification from NOPTA follows the recent completion of the Beehive 3D Seismic Survey and the crediting of the survey against the future permit year four work program obligation.
Melbana Energy’s CEO, Robert Zammit, said: “The suspension of the deadline for completing the current permit year’s work obligations combined with the previously secured crediting of the Beehive 3D seismic survey against the future Year 4 work commitment provides work program flexibility as we prepare to analyze the acquired Beehive 3D seismic data and anticipate the potential exercise by Total and/or Santos of their option to drill the Beehive-1 exploration well.”
Total and Santos have an option (exercisable together or individually) to acquire a direct 80 percent participating interest in the permit in return for fully funding the costs of all activities until completion of the first well in the WA-488-P permit. If that happens, Melbana retains 20 percent and will be fully carried for the first exploration well.
Beehive is located close to several existing facilities including Ichthys project and Blacktip field and pipeline offering several options for future gas monetization. In the event of a commercial discovery, Melbana will repay carried funding from its share of cash flow from the Beehive field.
Melbana will have no re-payment obligations for such carried funding in the event there is no commercial discovery and development in WA488-P.
According to the company, the Beehive is a Carboniferous age 180 square-kilometer isolated carbonate build up with 400 meters of mapped vertical relief, analogous to the giant Tengiz field in the Caspian Basin.
It is located in 40m water depth suitable for a jack-up rig, within 75 kilometers offshore and developable by either FPSO or pipeline to existing infrastructure. This play type is new and undrilled in the Bonaparte Basin with no wells having been drilled to this depth in the basin.
Independent Expert McDaniel & Associates (Canada) assessed Beehive Prospective Resource as 388 million barrels of oil equivalent in the best case scenario. McDaniel & Associates Report estimates Prospective Resources to range from 91 (low) to 1.6 billion (high) barrels of oil equivalent with 25% improvement in Chance of Success.
The Beehive Survey
Polarcus acquired some 600 square kilometers of seismic data over the Beehive prospect. The survey further de-risked the prospect and helped with defining a preferred location for the Beehive-1 exploration well.
A new lead named Egret was identified during the planning of the Beehive 3D Seismic Survey, and the survey area was extended by 100 square kilometers.