ESSODeepwater Gippsland has commenced an offshore exploration drilling program in the Gippsland Basin to search for new sources of gas. The company is drilling two exploration wells, known as Baldfish and Hairtail, on the VIC/P70 block as part of its investment program to find and bring online new gas supplies. Esso Deepwater Gippsland holds a 100 percent interest in the VIC/P70 block, which is approximately 90 km off the East Gippsland Victorian coast. Diamond Offshore’s Ocean Monarch semi-submersible drilling rig is drilling the wells, which is expected to take several months.
Chairman Richard Owen said this ambitious exploration drilling program adds a new, exciting chapter to the exploration of the Gippsland Basin.
“The two wells will be drilled in water depths ranging from 350 to 700 meters, amongst the deepest water depths drilled in the Gippsland Basin,” Mr Owen said.
“These wells are targeting gas prospects, with the objective of proving up resources for timely development and contribution to the Australian domestic gas market.”
The AUD$120 million investment in drilling by Esso Deepwater Gippsland is in addition to other recent investments by ExxonMobil Australia in Victoria, including the AUD$4.5 billion Kipper Tuna Turrum offshore project, the AUD$1 billion Longford Gas Conditioning Plant and the future development of the West Barracouta gas field.
“This $120 million exploration drilling program demonstrates our commitment to bringing new gas supplies to the domestic market,” Mr Owen said.
“ExxonMobil Australia is also actively considering a potential LNG import project to bring additional supply to the east coast gas market.”
According to the company, since the first well was drilled in 1965 in Bass Strait, about four billion barrels of crude oil and eight trillion cubic feet of natural gas have been produced.