The Ironbark-1 exploration well is the first well drilled by BP as an operator in Australia in about a decade.
Overnight the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) said it had accepted BP's environmental plan and approved an application to drill the well.
Ironbark-1 will be drilled about 170 kilometers offshore Karratha in approximately 300 metres water depth, using Diamond Offshore's Ocean Apex drilling rig. The rig is currently sitting offshore Barrow Island according to Marine Traffic.
BP plans to spud the well in the third quarter of this year, depending on rig availability. The well will take up to 100 days to drill, evaluate, and then plug and abandon.
Ironbark has a best estimate prospective resource of 15 trillion cubic feet of gas across multiple targets within the Triassic Mungaroo formation.
Mungaroo is the same formation which has proved commercial for the Gorgon, Julimar-Brunello, Lago, Goodwyn, Perseus and North Ranking gas fields.
BP is confident given the success at those fields, that the Ironbark prospect could produce gas-condensate.
The well will be the deepest offshore well ever drilled in Australia. It will be drilled to a depth of 5500m. Because of the depth, Ironbark-1 will be drilled in several stages.
The prospect lies some 50km from the North Rankin platform which ties into the North West Shelf LNG plant and is close to both Pluto and Wheatstone LNG.
The Ironbark project is a joint venture with BP as operator (41.5%), alongside Beach Energy (21%), Cue Energy (21.5%), New Zealand Oil and Gas (15%).
Today Cue said in a statement to the market it welcomed the approval from NOPSEMA, and that if successful the well would be "company changing."