Cooper, which this week closed a major debt funding deal for its $400 million Sole gas field development, said some of those funds would be used to help development planning for its Sole follow-up, Manta, and its Otway Basin options.
Cooper said it had gas reserves and resources ideally placed and competitive to generate value in a tight gas market, and with some consolidation of gas prices at more sustainable levels that buyers were looking away from substitution to locking in supplies.
Cooper managing director David Maxwell mentioned a planned workover at the Henry field and a new development well that could see production from 2019, while there is uncontracted gas from the wider Casino project available from 2018.
Cooper, which has 50% of Casino and the surrounding VIC/P44 permit, is looking to develop prospective resources to increase resource and reserve base and better define a mix of exploration and infill wells to accelerate gas production.
Cooper took over operatorship from Santos earlier this year, and is working on a number of initiatives, including gas processing options beyond 2018, planning for the Henry-3 well development, most likely in 2018-19, and future near-field exploration targets.
"The Casino gas project remains important for AWE, particularly as gas sales contracts are set to expire in early 2018," AWE managing director David Biggs said recently.
"Marketing of the uncontracted gas is underway and AWE is anticipating that realised prices will substantially exceed historic contract rates.
"We are also working with the operator to assess further development potential within the field over coming years."
Biggs said a temporary pressure anomaly with the Casino-5 well would be addressed in March next year.
Maxwell said the Cooper's offshore Otway Basin portfolio contained some attractive low risk assets adjacent to infrastructure and market.
It had also defined 33 offshore prospects across VIC/P44, VIC/RL11, VIC/RL12, VIC/L24 and VIC/L30 in the Otway Basin, with almost 30 within 10km of the existing Casino-Henry-Netherby pipeline network, of which nine were considered low risk.
AWE is also looking seriously at the optionality of its Bass Basin portfolio with operator Origin, where the loss of some production from the Casino field has been offset by the successful start-up of compression on the Yolla-A platform and completion of the Mid-Life Extension project in recent times.
Production subsequently increased to nameplate capacity of 67 terajoules per day, but is limited to 60TJpd due to unscheduled maintenance at the Lang Lang gas plant.
Once the plant returns to full capacity BassGas is anticipated to produce in excess of 60TJpd until at least the end of the year.
"On current projections, the BassGas sales contract is not expected to expire until early 2019," Biggs noted.
"Marketing of uncontracted gas will commence in 2018 and we will also be working with the
Operator to progress development plans for the nearby Trefoil gas and condensate field, which could come into production as early as 2022," Biggs said.
Maxwell said there were also further opportunities to utilise the Otway Basin's Minerva gas plant (Cooper 10%), which will gain spare capacity with the imminent depletion of the plant's namesake field, and the under-utilised Patricia Baleen facilities in the Gippsland Basin.
Minerva operator BHP is examining options for the acceleration of tail gas production.