APPEX Global 2016
 

Jackup Territory Exploration of the NW Shelf of Australia – the North Sea of 20 years ago?

In the late 90’s the UK North Sea was at an exploration hiatus, with 10$ oil and many of the larger companies not drilling. A new set of companies appeared in the UK in early 2000’s armed with ideas from years of working the North Sea but with prospects or plays deemed too risky by their previous employers. The 2000’s was a success story in the North Sea of these new smaller players exploring less well known petroleum systems or part or wholly stratigraphic traps. The inboard <200metre water depth of the NW Shelf of Australia has several oil and gas generating petroleum systems but like the North Sea of the late 90’s most of the >25sqkm structural closures have been drilled today and the question is now, what is there left to explore in jackup territory of the NW Shelf with prospects that could be >50mmboe. The talk attempts to highlight the less drilled prospectivity of:

1) Tertiary – Upper Cretaceous
2) Lower Cretaceous and Upper Jurassic stratigraphic oil and gas filled trap potential
3) Upper Triassic gas – are there any fault blocks left to drill?
4) Lower Triassic/Upper Permian – a new Petroleum system exemplified by the recent Phoenix South oil and Roc gas condensate discoveries
5) Permo – Carboniferous – an underexplored petroleum system

Carnarvon Petroleum's shallow water oil and gas exploration permits of the NW Shelf

Carnarvon Petroleum is attempting to establish a jackup territory oil exploration focussed acreage position on the North West Shelf while the current oil price is low. Carnarvon is a 20-30% equity holder in circa 20,000sqkm of acreage covering the recent oil and gas discoveries at Phoenix South (4Q 2014) and Roc (4Q 2015) which highlight a new petroleum system on the NW Shelf within Lower Triassic sediments akin to the proven system of the Perth basin far to the South and the Lower Triassic stratigraphy of Timor to the North. In 2014, Carnarvon picked up a similar Lower Triassic prospective block in the inboard Carnarvon basin called the Cerberus blocks covering nearly 3500sqkm. This block also has several other 100mmboe plus prospects at the Lower Cretaceous, Jurassic, Lower Triassic and Upper Permian levels. Finally Carnarvon announced in late January a deal to acquire a 35% position in two undeveloped high api oil discoveries called Outtrim and Blencathra with Quadrant 65% (formerly Apache Australia) as the operator. The concept is to drill another well into the Outtrim structure in 2016 to establish the oil volume and subsequently undertake a combined development with the discovered resource at Blencathra some 5km away. Carnarvon continues to study the jackup territory of the NorthWest Shelf for exploration and production assets and is always interested in partnering with likeminded established or external Australian players.

This talk addresses proven and potential petroleum systems and play types developed within this basin, based on exploration results from the Irish and UK sectors and from experiences in other North Atlantic basins off Ireland, the UK and Norway.


About the Speaker

Stephen Molyneux - Carnarvon Petroleum

Comes from a farming background in Lancashire, UK and first got interested in rocks by looking at the glacial erratics in his Dads fields. From here it was O and A level geology and a Geology Degree at Imperial College from 1985-1988. Stephen started his working career at Enterprise Oil in London from 1989-1994. Since then completed a MSc in Sedimentology at Birkbeck College London, then an Imperial Phd in seismic interpretation of oil bearing sandstone intrusions of the North sea completed in 2000. A short stint in 1999-2000 working for PanCanadian on the UK Buzzard discovery that year he then went off to Calgary from 2000-2008 to work for PanCanadian as the companies deepwater specialist working on projects such as the Buzzard discovery and offshore Brazil/Africa/GOM exploration. Managed to luck out with a discovery in GOM at Tahiti, Brazil in the Peregrino discovery and Sergipe basins – all stratigraphic traps. Then 4 years with Oilexco Calgary as Chief Geologist who worked in the North Sea where the company drilled 50+ offshore wells and found more then 100 million barrels of oil recoverable. Several fields were again stratigraphic and some seismic scale sandstone intrusions. The GFC was not kind to Oilexco and in 2009 was bought by Premier. Stephen then had spells with Premier North Sea (lead explorer North Sea 2009-2010), Origin Energy Brisbane (International New Ventures Manager 2010-2012) and has eventually found a home in Perth Australia with Carnarvon Petroleum (2012-present)


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