Australian oil and gas Melbana Energy has been awarded two additional petroleum exploration permits offshore northern Australia, near the license containing the Beehive prospect.
The application was made for the permit areas, designated as WA-544-P and NT/P87, under the Australian Government’s 2019 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release.
They have been awarded for an initial period of six years and are located adjacent to Melbana’s existing WA-488-P permit area that contains the giant Beehive prospect.
Melbana Energy’s Executive Chairman, Andrew Purcell, said: “The award of these additional permits next to our Beehive Prospect allows us to build on the knowledge we have gained studying WA-488-P to pursue other leads across a wider area.
"This additional running room makes the Beehive Prospect an even more exciting opportunity, particularly since the minimum work requirements can leverage Melbana’s in-house expertise before having to decide whether to commit to the larger work commitments in years 4 and beyond.”
Under the minimum work requirements, in the first three years of the license terms, Melbana will carry out 2D and 3D seismic data reprocessing.
In the fourth year, the company may carry out new 3D seismic surveys across the two licenses, with the decision to drill one exploration well in each license in the sixth year.
As for the Beehive prospect, it is situated in the WA-488-P block in the Bonaparte Basin off W. Australia.
The potentially giant prospect has been independently assessed to have a prospective resource of 416 million barrels of oil equivalent (best estimate).
Beehive, sitting in a water depth of 40 meters, is located close to several existing facilities, including the Ichthys project and Blacktip field and pipeline offering several options for future monetization, Melbana has previously said.
Melbana, formerly known as MEO Australia, has said that the Beehive is the largest undrilled target in Australia. The company has launched a farm-out campaign to fund the drilling of an exploration well in late 2021.