Beach Energy announces major gas reserves in Australia’s Cooper Basin

admin | 杭州桑拿
7 Apr 2019

Beach Energy estimates 600 trillion cubic feet or more of gas lies in the Cooper Basin.Beach Energy has flagged extremely large gas reserves in exploration acreage it holds in the Nappamerri Trough in the Cooper Basin, in central Australia, where it is pursuing work programs with global oil major Chevron.

Exploration has found 600 metres of “gas-soaked sandstone” underlying known gas-bearing reserves giving gas across a vertical depth of one kilometre extending across “an area of 5000 square kilometres, which is totally gas-saturated”, Beach Energy managing director Reg Nelson told a business lunch on Thursday.

“That’s a huge amount of gas,” he said. “We estimate possibly there is 600 trillion cubic feet or more of gas”, and if 10 per cent or 20 per cent is recoverable, this would result in “60 to 120 trillion cubic feet of gas”.

“To put that in perspective, in 45 years, Cooper Basin has produced 6 trillion cubic feet of gas. Australia effectively uses a volume of 3 trillion cubic feet of gas a year.”

Beach has a joint venture with Chevron across much of this acreage that could result in $500 million being invested to clarify the extent of the reserves. It has exploration programs with others such has Santos and Origin Energy on adjacent acreage.

Mr Nelson would not be drawn on talk Chevron may walk away from the work with Beach.

“The speculation is out there, but we don’t know” what its intentions are, he said.

“They won’t tell us, so what’s the use of speculating?”

An estimated $500 million is to be spent proving up the reserves. Under a two-stage work program, Chevron has until March next year to decide whether to commit further funds beyond the initial $190 million agreed to.

If Chevron elects not to proceed to stage two, then ownership of the acreage reverts to Beach.

But to ensure the reserves are tapped, the government needs to have the “right policy settings” in place, Mr Nelson said, while pointing to the ban in place that is preventing onshore exploration in Victoria.

Separately, AWE managing director Bruce Clement highlighted concerns that a slower than expected ramp up of production to supply gas needed for the three Queensland export projects could further destabilise gas markets on the east coast.

“The big risk is with coal seam gas delivery in Queensland,” Mr Clement said. “There is the acknowledgement that the ramp … is behind. Can they produce the gas in the longer term to meet that demand?”

Mr Clement said there is the prospect of “significant price volatility over the next four years” as these projects come on stream.

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