Austral last night told the NZX that the Cardiff-2B deviation well was being kicked off after the first sidetrack Cardiff-2A had encountered good hydrocarbon indications within the upper part of the Eocene-aged Kapuni Formation.
However, unspecified drilling problems led to the plugging back from 4072m and deviating out of that wellbore at 3950m. Austral anticipated Cardiff-2B would reach its target depth near 4900m later in February and would be completed for testing.
Earlier this year operational problems associated with the cementing of a 7” liner across the open hole section of Cardiff-2 led to the first sidetrack, after good quality logs indicated the hydrocarbon-bearing McKee, K1A, K2 and deeper K3E had been intersected.
Austral also said the first jet pump test of the Miocene-aged Mt Messenger pay zone within the nearby Cheal-A4 well had resulted in a total of approximately 3000 barrels of oil and 1.5 mmscf of gas flowing over a 10-day period.
A second test had started, using a larger jet pump nozzle, and during the first three days the well had averaged rates approximately 40% higher than during the first test. Once the second test was finished, a third nozzle would be evaluated and testing conducted over the shallower Urenui oil pay, before both zones were tested together.
A similar testing program would then be conducted on Cheal-A3X, which previously flowed unassisted at rates averaging 300 bopd.
Austral also said it had entered into a formal agreement with UK company Rift Oil Plc whereby Rift would contribute the first US$6 million of expenditure on the Douglas-1 exploration well in Papua New Guinea licence PPL 235 in return for earning a 65% interest in the permit.
"We are delighted to have finalised this agreement, which ensures the drilling of the highly prospective Douglas-1 well this year,” said Austral CEO Dave Bennett.
The Douglas Prospect, mapped as covering 60 sqkm, was situated in a lightly explored area of the foreland basin, where earlier wells had demonstrated oil and gas generation.