Statoil to begin Great Australian Bight drilling

Statoil has been granted regulatory approval to revive exploration in the Great Australian Bight after signing a swap agreement with BP.

The Norwegian company will take over two permits off Australia’s southern coastline to drill an exploration well before the end of October 2019.

The National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA) has approved the transfer, making Statoil operator of EPP39 and EPP40 permits.

“We are very pleased to have reached these agreements and found a way forward for our exploration project in the Bight,” said Pål Haremo, vice president of Exploration in Australasia.

“With this transaction, we have strengthened our position in this promising, unproven basin with a large exploration upside. This is in line with Statoil’s global exploration strategy of accessing at scale and targeting high-impact opportunities.

“We have a good understanding of the geology in our licence area, based on high-quality 3D data analysis.

“We believe there could be an active petroleum system within our permit area and we are now positioned to test this potential under favourable market conditions for exploration drilling.”

Statoil has mapped a number of prospects in its licence area, including the Stromlo-1 well candidate in EPP39.

Stromlo offers high-impact potential in a frontier exploration setting, while EPP40 represents upside exploration potential.

“We will now take the necessary time to systematically work through all the preparations needed to drill safely,” said Jacques-Etienne Michel, Statoil’s country manager in Australia.

“While we are building on the previous work done in these licences, our operational plans will have to be redeveloped.

“In the end, it will be up to the Australian regulatory authorities to grant the necessary approvals for the activity to go ahead. Over the coming months, we will engage in dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders, including the South Australian community.”