Hopes hang on well of wishes

THIS week’s drilling of the Perth Basin Vindara prospect is of particular consequence to those companies with interests in both offshore exploration permits where wells have been drilled this summer.

Vindara straddles both WA 286P – containing Cliff Head and Mentelle – and TP/15, containing Twin Lions.

Results will be of varying significance to the partners – Roc Oil (operator, 30 per cent, 20 per cent), Australian Worldwide Exploration (27.5 per cent, 25 per cent), Norwest Energy (5 per cent, 10 per cent), Arc Energy (7.5 per cent, 5 per cent), and Voyager Energy (5 per cent, 5 per cent).

Roc and AWE have international project portfolios, including producing assets, and Arc is producing from the onshore Hovea oil field.

Voyager is also an oil producer in Queensland, and a partner in the onshore Perth Basin Jingemia oil find, which is expected to be in commercial production by year’s end.

Norwest is the most vulnerable of the WA286P and TP/15 partners.

While it has a portfolio of onshore and offshore interests in WA and the Northern Territory, Norwest is not yet a producer.

Cliff Head is almost certain to be brought into production by 2005, and Norwest celebrated last month’s Cliff Head 3 result with enthusiasm.

Nonetheless, Norwest CEO Ivan Burgess said the Mentelle disappointment was keenly felt last weekend.

“Vindara will tell us a lot more,” he said.

“There’s obviously a lot of oil around, but we need to work it out by drilling a few wells.

“This tells us more about the structures, the potential problems, the differences and similarities between the prospects.”

Roc Oil CEO John Doran agreed.

“We’re determining the prospectivity of the area,” Dr Doran said.

“It’s an effective way of doing it, and you win some and you lose some.”

Despite the unwelcome results from the initial Twin Lions and Mentelle wells, all the news out of the Perth Basin in the past three weeks has not been bad.

While stock slumps were experienced by all Twin Lions (TP/15) partners, some of these companies are experiencing good things from other interests.

Arc Energy hit a 22-metre oil column in sidetrack drilling in a fifth Hovea well and the Origin/Arc venture is now going ahead with a further sidetrack.

Two other TP/15 partners, Hardman Resources and Bounty Oil & Gas, announced a record flow from the nearby Woodada gas field.

This pair is also planning to commence oil exploration drilling on the same production licence within weeks.

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