Bunbury Energy scores WA first

BUNBURY Energy is starting from scratch in the Perth Basin having been awarded the never-before-released EP 496, targeting conventional gas, though CEO Wal Muir has told Energy News it will be a “tough nut to crack” so is scouting a farminee.
Bunbury Energy scores WA first Bunbury Energy scores WA first Bunbury Energy scores WA first Bunbury Energy scores WA first Bunbury Energy scores WA first
With only a couple of government-acquired seismic lines run in the area, Muir wants to go over and above the work permit commitment of 150km of 2D, aiming to cover 200km starting by March-April before the rain starts, pending submission and approval of an environmental plan.
The work plan calls for a regional grid in the first year, then a detailed grid in the second, some studies in the third before drilling a well in the fourth year, followed by more studies in the fifth and drilling another well in the sixth.
Muir's former AWT International colleague Cameron Manifold has experienced first-hand how hard the local geology can be to crack at Whicher Range, which contains 46.4 billion cubic metres of gas, though Muir wants to find a shallower trap at around 3000m.
While Western Australia's hydraulic fracturing ban is yet to be legislated, Bunbury Energy's permit specifies that none be done - not that it matters, because there's no reason to do so.
In fact, Muir says fraccing would only create more hassles, technically speaking.
"There are no shallow coals or deep black shales, and the sands at Whicher for example have got swelling clays in them, so the last thing you want to do is put water across that sort of stuff [in the fraccing process]," Muir told Energy News.
"They did five fracs at Whicher, none of which have worked. The last time they did something down there, 10 months ago by CalEnergy, I understand that they drilled the reservoir section without mud in the hole, then just put it on a long-term production test.
"I've done mudless drilling in Queensland and elsewhere, I'm well used to it, and while I'm not a drilling or reservoir engineer I've seen this reservoir under the microscope and you really don't want to be sticking water across that stuff."
He has had discussions with CalEnergy Resources, which has permits in the area, around community engagement, and with Pilot Energy in the north.
He also has contacts in the North Perth basin who have suffered the same sort of issues those in the Perth Basin's south have dealt with.
Among that consultation which will continue, he will also seek a farm-in partner, as "I've never been a believer in anyone taking a block 100%".
Thus proves how off the mark activist group Frack Free WA is, which expressed outrage at how the WA government had "betrayed" the communities in the south-west which it says are dismayed considering the government banned fraccing.
They say the permit covers the shires of Capel, Dardanup and Donnybrook-Balingup and parts of the City of Bunbury and City of Busselton.
"The department claims this permit is for conventional gas only. Yet we are aware that unconventional gas is the primary gas found in this region," Boyanup landholder and Gasfield Free South West Alliance co-convenor Kathy Thomson said.
Muir said that with no drilling and no history of exploration in the area, the community consultation has been "extensive and deep over the last three years to earn us a social license there, because we're starting way behind the eight-ball".

Active backers

The Chinese-born Australians - technical director Dr Xingjin Wang, managing director Wilson Xue and accountant Benson Wong - who run and own Bunbury Energy have about 40% in Pilot Energy which has blocks offshore WA and in the South Perth Basin just to the north of Muir's permit.
They also have acreage in Queensland they've acquired in the last 12 months - some conventional and some CSG, but that's not part of Bunbury Energy.
One of their stable has just bought Santos' share of the Denison Trough, and another has bought AGL's share of the Moranbah gas project which went to a consortium of Shandong Order Gas Company and Orient Energy.
The Sydney-based executives are building quite a portfolio of gas assets in Australia, though Wilson also owns about 39 shoe stores in New South Wales and Victoria, a gold interest in Papua New Guinea and solar power stations in Tonga.