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The large Perth-based miner's subsidiary Energy Resources holds nine permits across the Perth Basin and is run by former Norwest Energy managing director and basin veteran Shelley Robertson.
MinRes also currently holds over 17% of Norwest shares, and took a 19.9% share in late December last year. The two also share two Perth Basin permits in an 80%-20% split.
The miner's interest in gas supply has been clear for some time and at the end of 2017 it made a failed tilt at AWE to secure its 50% share of the Waitsia gas field in the basin.
Its interest in gas is to reduce reliance on diesel and resulting carbon emissions as well as provide a measure of energy and price security.
It said this quarter it had been progressing its exploration program and was focussed on a high impact conventional gas drilling program in its northern acreage but is in the process of applying for a 12-month suspension to the Department of Mines Industry Regulation and Safety.
On April 1 it submitted a force majeure claim "to cover all exploration programs" against the impact of COVID-19, allowed under the Western Australian Petroleum Act guidelines.
Given the national offshore titleholder authority NOPTA and other state jurisdictions like South Australia have allowed exemptions MinRes says it is confident its application will be successful.
Mitsui, the ultimately successful bidder for AWE and the Perth Basin Waitsia field, recently advised no change to its plans to progress Waitsia stage 1 while Strike Energy which holds Tcf-potential West Erregulla is hoping costs come down so it can expand its drilling program this year.