Survey completed at giant Australian oil and gas basin

Aug. 14 (UPI) — Australian energy company Melbana said Tuesday that a survey of the Beehive prospect, with more than 1 billion barrels of estimated reserves, is complete.

Working in coordination with Australian energy company Santos and French supermajor Total, Melbana said the survey was completed safely and without incident. Seismic surveys are used to get a better understanding of the reserve potential in a prospect.

Describing Beehive as potentially one of the largest untapped reserves in Australia, the company said it was anticipating positive results for a basin thought to hold as much as 1.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

“We look forward to reviewing the data obtained in conjunction with Santos and Total in due course and to notification of their position regarding exercising their options to fully fund the first exploration well,” CEO Robert Zammit said in a statement.

Zammit said he expects Santos and Total to exercise their right to drill into the Beehive prospect in the next six months. If they do, Melbana stays on with a 20 percent stake.

Melbana stated that Beehive data will provide operators with a better idea of where to tap the first exploration well. The reserve is located near existing oil and gas infrastructure, supporting future value, it said.

The Australian government signed off on the environment permits to survey Beehive in May.

The Beehive prospect may be on par with the Tengiz basin in the Kazakh waters of the Caspian Sea, one of the largest ultra-deep water fields in the world. Combined with nearby developments, Tengiz produced its 2 billionth barrel of oil more than six years ago.

In June, Australian energy company Woodside handed out a contract to geophysical survey company Ocean Energy to provide data on the deepwater field off the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia. Net reserves in the Scarborough area, which consists of three natural gas fields, are more than 9 trillion cubic feet of dry gas.

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