White Sands ready to spud Reid's Dome wildcat

FOLLOWING several delays, White Sands Petroleum says its fully automated EDM rig is now expected to spud the company’s first well at the end of the week.

The WSP Primero well at Reid’s Dome in Bowen Basin permit PL 231 will test the basal Cattle Creek Formation, in addition to more than 2000m of the underlying Reid’s Dome Beds.

Its primary targets will be the gas prospective sands contained within Permian, parallic and lacustrine sediments. Gas shows were encountered in these sands by the AOE-1 well, drilled in 954 near the WSP Primero well site.

Before spudding, drilling crews will undergo a comprehensive three-day training session, involving both routine and unusual tasks, White Sands said.

“This is a critical part of the company’s commitment to due diligence in operational risk reduction and safety management,” company secretary Ron Anderson said.

“During the training period, system function tests and system integrity tests will be conducted under operating conditions at high pressure.”

The initial rig-up began on April 3 and was expected to be completed within one to two weeks. But a week later on April 10, White Sands told the ASX that heavy rainfall at the well site had washed out the access road, causing "significant delays".

Once the road was repaired, further delays resulted from Easter road bans on trucking and heavy bookings for the trucking contractors.

Engineering & Drilling Machinery, located in Stavanger, Norway, specialises in platform-based workover units for the North Sea and built the EDM rig.

The computer-controlled rig has automated pipe handling and remote control. It has top drive power, making it very powerful and suitable for under-balanced and directional drilling.

But it has none of a conventional rig's draw works, rotary table or travelling block.

The unit has slim-hole depth capacity to 4000m and has no difficulty in drilling a conventional hole to 3500m. It is manned by half the number of a conventional rig crew and can be transported in 12 truckloads.

After drilling the Reid's Dome exploration well, the rig will next drill five wells in Cooper Basin PEL182 for Eagle Bay Resources to enable the company to earn 10% equity. It will then drill four wells in Central Petroleum's Pedirka Basin permits EP93, EP92 and application PLA77, and the company is paying 22.5% of the rig's drilling costs to earn a 15% stake in each permit. Following this, the rig will drill in the Bounty Oil & Gas Utopia oil field in ATP560, a Queensland Eromanga Basin permit.

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