Largest recent onshore natural gas find in Australia has reserves estimate increased

LNG Journal | Tuesday 14 November 2017

Two Australian exploration and production companies said an independent review had increased by 78 percent the estimated reserves for the Waitsia natural gas field in the Perth Basin of Western Australia, the largest onshore discovery for 40 years and destined for the domestic market.

The Waitsia field was discovered in September 2014 and Australian companies AWE Ltd and Beach Energy hold the Waitsia project licence. The field’s stage two development now being planned.

The upgrade of Australian gas reserves for the domestic market comes at a time when the government is concerned about future supplies reaching the East and South of Australia and LNG shipments are being considered.

The government is also studying a West-East natural gas pipeline as alternative to domestic LNG cargoes.

The Australian government has launched a feasibility study to examine the potential of a West-East pipeline to supply eastern and southern markets with Western Australia’s abundant supplies.

The pipeline study is scheduled for completion by March 2015.

AWE said the independent review of the Waitsia gas field estimates give gross proven reserves and probable reserves (known as 2P) of 811 petajoules.

The company said the increase reflected the significantly better-than-expected reservoir quality, thickness and well deliverability dring recent drilling and testing.

“The review of the Waitsia gas field, recently undertaken, highlights substantially higher recoverable hydrocarbons and additional production potential from the excellent quality conventional reservoirs in the Kingia and High Cliff Sandstones,” said David Biggs, AWE Chief Executive.

The Sydney-based company said the independent assessment was closely aligned with AWE’s internal estimates from work completed to date, which will be finalised by year-end after incorporating the most recent data from appraisal operations

“The Waitsia Stage 2 development project is planned to deliver 100 terajoules per day for at least 10 years,” said CEO Briggs.

“The additional reserves identified by this review are more than double the reserves required for this project and provide opportunities for significantly increased near-term field production and longer field life,” the CEO explained.

“The recent flow tests at Waitsia-3 (50 million standard cubic feet per day) and Waitsia-2 (39 MMscf/d) were exceptional and we are aiming to flow test Waitsia-4 before the end of November,” stated Briggs.

“The data from the flow tests and the upgraded view of reserves will provide further information for potential gas buyers,” he added.

AWE added that “substantial additional upside is demonstrated” by the new gross proven, probable and possible (3P) reserve estimate of 1,220 petajoules.

The review and evaluation were carried out by RISC, an independent oil and gas consultancy firm with offices in Australia, Asia, the Middle East and the UK.

“AWE anticipates issuing a further update before the end of 2017,” the company said.

The Waitsia project is a 50-50 joint venture between AWE and Beach Energy. Beach acquired its stake when it agreed to purchase Origin Energy’s former affiliate Lattice Energy.

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