Christies-1 a commercial discovery

The partners in the Christies-1 well, Beach Petroleum (75% operator) and Cooper Energy (25%), have declared the wildcat, drilled on the western flank of the Cooper Basin, a new commercial discovery with the well to be brought into production later this year.
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The success continues a good run for Cooper Energy who have had two commercial strikes out of three attempts since listing.

Christies-1, located 80km west of Moomba in PEL 92, will be the most westerly commercial oil yet discovered in the Cooper-Eromanga Basin.

"On all accounts, this outcome, in addition to data resulting from the 2002 successes reaffirms our belief that oil has flowed strongly through the Basin's western flanks," said Beach Petroleum's managing director, Reg Nelson.

"This has enormous implications for further exploration potential in the Cooper's Western flank, a largely untested perimeter area of the Cooper Basin."

The well was the first in the Beach's eight prospect exploration program for 2003 in the South Australian section of the Cooper Basin, and is currently being cased after reaching 1,957 metres total depth over the weekend.

The company said preliminary wireline log interpretation indicates 6 - 9m of net porous sandstone within a gross oil column of 18m between the 1,611m and 1,629m interval.

A drill stem test conducted last week between the 1,608 and 1,622m interval recovered 17.5 barrels of oil and six barrels of muddy oil from the upper 10m of the oil column. The untested lower part of the column appears on wireline logs to be of higher quality than the upper in terms of reservoir characteristics.

The joint venture is now considering bringing forward the spud date for Brighton-1, a prospect immediately south of Christies-1 which had been contingent on a successful Christies-1 outcome.

"Early estimates of recoverable oil in the lower Birkhead Formation of the Christies-1 structure are in the range of 0.2 to 1.0 million barrels from oil-in-place of up to 2.7 million barrels," said Nelson.

"The indicated gross oil column of approximately 18m suggests that the Christies-1 structure may be filled to capacity with hydrocarbons at the lower Birkhead level.

Nelson said Beach Petroleum planned to next drill Moana-1 and Carrickalinga-1 (both Beach 40% and operator and Great Artesian Oil and Gas 60%), to the east and southeast of Christies-1.

"A clean-up flow test of Christies-1 will be conducted after the well has been completed later this week with extended production testing expected to commence within three months following government approvals and the installation of production facilities.

"We will use the nearby recently established Sellicks facility as an operational base for Christies-1," said Nelson.

Beach Petroleum is spending $5 million on its 2003 exploration program in the province.