Twiggy's Canning setback

SENIOR staff from Western Australia's Department of Mines and Petroleum are in the Kimberley this week as seven of Andrew Forrest's applications appear to have been knocked back.
Twiggy's Canning setback Twiggy's Canning setback Twiggy's Canning setback Twiggy's Canning setback Twiggy's Canning setback

Data from the DMP appears to show that seven special prospecting authorities with acreage options and seven survey applications over the Goldwyer, Kidston and Central Canning areas, and a magneto-telluric survey have been knocked back in recent days.

While the applications are confidential until granted, Forrest's Squadron Energy and private oiler Goshawk Energy have been applying for licences in the region in recent weeks, so they are certainly the rebuffed parties.

Squadron (80%) and Goshawk (20%) had placed SPA-AOs over almost half of the basin, from the Northern Dampier Peninsula deep into the Kidston Sub-Basin over the next six months.

While seven have been refused, seven APA-AOs and eight survey applications are still being assessed.

The pair aimed to shoot a wide-ranging number of aeromagnetic and gravity surveys over almost half of the basin.

While the applications are being considered, officers from the DMP's petroleum and environment divisions are travelling the Kimberley this week to conduct stakeholder and community information sessions about the latest petroleum acreage releases in the Canning Basin that are being offered by the WA government.

The six blocks could offer a canny explorer a chance to profit on some nearology at the bottom of the cycle.

WA DMP executive director of petroleum Jeff Haworth said this week's meetings and information sessions were an opportunity for Kimberley community leaders, government organisations, and business and Indigenous groups to discuss onshore petroleum exploration and development with department experts.

"DMP assesses and regulates onshore petroleum activities throughout the State, ensuring that operators apply world's best safety, health and environmental practices," Haworth said.

"We are also committed to effective stakeholder engagement to ensure that the communities which host resource industries and the wider WA community are informed about resource activities locally and throughout the state.

"These stakeholder engagement sessions will also provide an opportunity for the department to learn more about the community and the questions that people have in regard to onshore petroleum exploration."

During the week-long visit DMP staff will meet with Indigenous groups, state government department heads, Chambers of Commerce, pastoralist groups, and shire representatives to discuss various petroleum topics including the processes involved in the latest petroleum acreage release and the state of the industry.

Haworth said title would not be granted until a preferred bidder is selected and they successfully complete native title negotiations.

As Buru Energy has shown recently, native title can be negotiated.

Haworth said further exploration of these recently gazetted acreage release areas would provide valuable geoscientific information and knowledge for the state.

"The geoscientific data that is collected through exploration is important. It helps provide insights into the petroleum prospectivity and potential resources of the state," he said.

Petroleum discoveries made from such exploration activities, have the potential to enhance the state's future energy security.

As part of the approvals process, petroleum operators are required to submit detailed environmental plans.

"Petroleum operators are also required to undertake open and ongoing community engagement activities throughout the life of the project," Haworth said.

The blocks include two new areas, L16-1 and L16-2, and four areas previously held by Buru (L14-3, L14-4, L14-5 and L14-6) in the south of the basin.

The two L16 blocks cover areas of around on the Lennard Shelf, which has seen the bulk of Canning Basin oil production from the Devonian carbonates and Permian-Carboniferous sandstones.

L16-1 contains Bow Valley Energy's 1994 Chestnut-1 well, which had gas shows in the Fairfield Group, while L16-2 contains Kufpec's 1987 Needle Eye Rocks-1 oil shows.

The L14 blocks are primarily on the Broome and Crossland Platforms, with L14-6 deep in the desert in the promising but underexplored Kidston Sub-basin.

The areas sit and are close to the Sally May-1, Percival-1 and Mirbelia-1 oil shows.

Sally May is a tight, non-commercial oil discovery in the Ordovician Nita Formation sitting on a 1BBbl potential anticline, while oil was recovered from Mirbelia in 1985.

The L14 blocks range in areas from and may also be prospective for Ordovician sub-salt plays.