ConocoPhillips Australia SH1 Pty Ltd and ConocoPhillips Australia SH2 Pty Ltd, subsidiaries of the U.S.-headquartered energy giant ConocoPhillips, have submitted an environment plan (EP) to the country’s offshore regulator for several seabed surveys and a multi-well exploration drilling program off the coast of Australia.
The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) has confirmed that Beach Energy submitted the environment plan in November 2023, proposing to undertake seabed surveys and hydrocarbon exploration activities within the Otway Basin in Commonwealth waters within licenses: VIC/P79 and T/49P, 19 km offshore of Victoria and 28 km offshore of King Island, Tasmania.
ConocoPhillips’ proposed Otway exploration drilling program entails seabed surveys at up to a maximum of nine locations, and drilling up to a maximum of six exploration wells in water depths ranging from 53 m to 500 meters. These activities are scheduled to start no earlier than April 1, 2024, for seabed surveys October 1, 2024, for drilling operations. This is expected to be completed no later than December 31, 2028, with the exact timing dependent on the receipt of environmental approvals and the availability of a mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU).
ConocoPhillips explains that the proposed drilling program is a continuation of its exploration program in the offshore Otway Basin, with the aim of identifying commercially viable natural gas reserves to help meet Australia’s energy needs.
The U.S. oil major explains that specific locations for seabed surveys and exploration drilling have yet to be confirmed, as the process for selecting final survey and drilling locations involves the competition of seismic data processing, interpretation of the data to select targets with a high probability of success, and an analysis of the efficiency of the drilling program to confirm resources with the least amount of wells to minimize potential impacts and risk associated with each.
ConocoPhillips has been working on several oil and gas projects outside Australia. Recently, the oil major kicked off production from a cross-border field in the North Sea six months ahead of schedule, ensuring more Norwegian gas for the energy market.