New study brings Arc back full circle

NOW that Arc Energy is taking a break from a two-year drilling program in the onshore Perth Basin while waiting for a bigger drill rig, the company will turn its attention to conducting a major geological and geophysical survey of the basin with partner Origin Energy.
New study brings Arc back full circle New study brings Arc back full circle New study brings Arc back full circle New study brings Arc back full circle New study brings Arc back full circle

Arc managing director Eric Streitberg told a study of this size had not been undertaken in the Perth Basin for eight years.

“The last time a study like this was undertaken was in 1998. It was initiated by me in my previous company, Discovery Petroleum, and has formed the foundation for our [Arc’s] exploration program over the last few years,” Streitberg said.

“We’re putting a major technical effort into the study alongside Origin. We have also engaged some world-class consultants, so we think we’ll get a pretty good understanding of the basin using the new data and that should generate a number of new prospects.”

Since the earlier study, Arc realised the onshore oil field geology also extended offshore, making the offshore prospectivity better than previously thought, according to Streitberg.

The new study is expected to be completed in May.

Arc suspended its onshore drilling program - which has seen more than 30 wells drilled since 2003 - following completion of Snottygobble-1, which is yet to be confirmed as a discovery.

“This will let us efficiently mobilise a new larger rig … which will enable us to more easily access some of our deeper prospects,” Streitberg said.

The company plans to contract a new rig and restart drilling in the June quarter. Arc has already identified several prospective oil exploration plays, Drakea and Red Hill, which are pending government approvals.

“In addition, we’re confident the study will identify additional targets that we’ll slot in behind these wells,” Streitberg said.

In a recent investor report to shareholders, Arc Energy described the Perth Basin as its “springboard”.

It said the basin’s competitive advantage was its high-value and high-yield oil and gas reserves, low-cost exploration and production and proximity to customers and infrastructure.

Streitberg told the company was currently searching for other opportunities around Australia, and was also looking with affiliated company Adelphi for overseas exploration and production projects.

“Our inherited Yemen assets have proven to be very prospective and have given us confidence our shareholders will tolerate assets in exotic places,” he said.

“We still prefer the Australian financial and political regime and will focus in our own backyard. But it’s inevitable that we’ll need to diversify out of the Perth Basin.”