Robust performance merely scratches surface

THE CONFERENCE CALLER: Despite enjoying a high discovery success rate going back decades, Australia’s Cooper Basin is still not regarded as a mature exploration destination by some ASX-listed energy players. By Mark Fraser

Two of these companies – Oilex (ASX: OEX) and Real Energy Corporation (ASX: RLE) – made their feelings regarding the basin’s untapped potential clear at the RIU Good Oil Conference held in Perth recently.

During his presentation to the conference, Oilex managing director Joe Salomon said proven technologies like 3D had hugely impacted exploration in the Cooper Basin and suggested new technologies targeting depth would now see similar advancements.

It was also, “enormously rich in terms of the data that is available,” he said.

Earlier this year the company entered into an agreement with Holloman Energy Corporation to acquire a 48.5003 per cent interest in the PEL 112 and 444 licenses, which sit in the South Australian section of the basin.

Both blocks are located on extensions of the Western Flank oil fairway that hosts over 30 per cent of the Cooper Basin’s oil reserves. PEL 112 covers 1,086 square kilometres, while PEL 444 extends across 1,166 square kilometres.

“It’s under-explored, it’s underdeveloped, there’s an opportunity to build a big business in the Cooper Basin,” Salomon said.

“It’s proven, it’s a liquid rich gas basin, it has a world class source rock, and that’s the defining thing for all of our activities – we want to be next to world class source rocks.

“You have to understand the migration pathways. We are moving from structural plays to structural stratigraphic, and in fact pure stratigraphic, and that is a key part of our plan going forward.”

When it came the turn of Real Energy Corporation (REC) chief executive and executive director Scott Brown to present, he took the opportunity to compare the Cooper Basin with Texas, where around a million wells had been drilled as opposed to just 3,100 within the onshore Australian jurisdiction.

The company’s initial focus is on the exploration and development of unconventional gas resources and conventional oil and resources in both the Cooper and Eromanga basins.

“It (the Cooper Basin) is pretty similar size (to Texas), so there is a hell of a lot potential here for both oil and gas, and that’s why we are very bullish about it,” Brown said.

“Both Santos and Beach have announced pretty major programs to get after oil and gas in this basin.

“Santos is talking about a program of 100 wells over the next period of time.

“Obviously they are investing substantially.”

As with Oilex, REC was also looking to implement new technologies and methodologies as it further developed its permits.

This included incorporating updated well designs as well as finding ways to increase productivity and flow rates.