Austral told the NZX this morning that the second Eocene-aged zone had been successfully fracture treated and fraccing fluids had been lifted to the surface for several days. Flow rates of several hundred barrels per day have been sustained, together with a modest but stable gas flare and some condensate.
But any reasonable estimate of the flow potential of the bottom (the Kapuni K3 sands) and middle (K1A sands) could not be made until the thousand barrels of fluids had been recovered to surface and the necessary test equipment – including securing a coil tubing unit – was available.
This was not expected until late this month, Austral chief executive Dave Bennett told EnergyReview.net.
“Yes, it is frustrating, but there has been no fundamental, no critical setback and everyone needs to be patient. We are making progress, if only inch-by-inch,” Bennett said.
Other operators – Shell Todd Oil Services on the Maui B platform and Swift Energy with some Kauri wells – were either already using or had booked the coil tubing unit.
"Everything that has occurred to date is consistent with successful frac operations and with the successful flowing of gas and condensate from the reservoir. In due course, the flow capability of the well, and hence the overall economic potential of the Cardiff discovery will be revealed.”
So Austral would now frac and conduct interim flow operations on the top test zone (the McKee sands) while awaiting the coil tubing unit.
Meanwhile, the Cheal-A3X well, in the same licence (PEP 38738), had produced an average of 450 bopd for the last 10 days, with 200,000 cubic feet of gas per day and no associated water. This compared favourably with the 350 bopd averaged by Cheal-A4 over the three months to April.
“This encourages the joint venture to accelerate its plans for future Cheal field development,” said Bennett.
The PEP 38738 shallow partners are: operator Austral (36.5%), Cheal Petroleum (30.5%) and International Resource Management (33%). The PEP 38738 deep partners are: operator Austral (25.1%), Genesis Energy (40%), Cheal Petroleum (15.1%) and IRM (19.8%).