Santos announces significant oil discovery offshore Australia

March 25, 2022

Santos announced the Pavo-1 exploration well has confirmed a significant oil discovery 46 kilometers (29 miles) east of the Dorado field in the Bedout Sub-basin, offshore Western Australia.

Pavo field location map, Bedout Sub-Basin, offshore Western Australia
Pavo field location map, Bedout Sub-Basin, offshore Western Australia

The well was drilled on the northern culmination of the greater Pavo structure and encountered a 60-meter gross hydrocarbon column in the primary Caley member reservoir target. Wireline data has confirmed 46 meters of net oil pay, with an oil-water contact intersected at 3,004 meters measured depth (MD). Excellent reservoir quality is interpreted from logs with 19% average porosity, permeabilities in the 100 to 1,000 millidarcy range and hydrocarbon saturations averaging 80%, similar to that encountered in the Dorado field.

Wireline logging operations to collect pressure, sample and rock data across the target Caley reservoir to inform resource volume estimates have been completed. Initial indications from rig site analysis are of a light sweet oil (~52 degrees API) with a low gas-oil ratio.

A 2C contingent resource for the northern culmination is assessed at 43 million barrels of oil (MMbbl) gross (Santos 70% interest 30 MMbbl).

The result at Pavo-1 also significantly de-risks the hydrocarbon bearing potential of the separate southern culmination of the greater Pavo structure. The southern culmination has an additional best estimate P50 prospective resource of 40 MMbbl gross (Santos 70 % interest 28 MMbbl). Probability of geologic success for the prospective resource in the southern culmination is assessed at 60 %.

Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Gallagher described the Pavo discovery as a great result that could add further material value to the Dorado project through a potential low-cost tie-back to the proposed Dorado facility.

“The Pavo-1 success is expected to support a potential low-cost tie-back to the first phase of the proposed Dorado development, with Pavo north having an estimated breakeven cost of less than US$10 per barrel, and future gas production from the Bedout basin providing a source of supply into our existing domestic gas infrastructure in Western Australia,” Mr Gallagher said.

“With the global oil and gas markets seeing increased volatility, low-CO2 oil and gas resources at Dorado and Pavo add significantly to Australia’s national energy security.

“It is also very encouraging for the next exploration well in the current campaign, Apus-1, which offers another potential nearby low-cost tie-in opportunity to the Dorado development.

“The Pavo-1 well result also proves the petroleum system in the basin is effective over a greater area, de-risking a number of nearby low-cost opportunities.”

The Pavo-1 well is being drilled using the jack-up mobile offshore drilling unit, Noble Tom Prosser, in a water depth of approximately 88 meters and is currently drilling ahead to the final planned total depth of approximately 4,200 meters MD. The deepening of the well is focused on Early Triassic and Upper Permian stratigraphy not previously drilled in the basin and will provide key information to de-risk a significant number of gas and oil prospects in the Bedout Sub-basin.

Once wireline logging operations are completed at final total depth, the well will be plugged and permanently decommissioned as planned, and the rig will move to the Apus-1 well location 20 kilometers south-west of the Pavo-1 well location.

Pavo-1 is located in petroleum permit WA-438-P (Santos 70 % and operator, Carnarvon Energy 30 %). It is approximately 160 kilometers north-northeast of Port Hedland and around 46 kilometers east of the Dorado field.

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