Hat trick of WA finds excites global oil and gas industry

Nov 10, 2014

They say good things come in threes and that was certainly the case for the Australian oil and gas industry recently when a hat-trick of major discoveries was made on the west coast of the country.

Two of the discoveries are now considered once in a generation finds, with the potential to dramatically change the current status of the Australian oil and gas sector at a time when many had feared exploration activity was on the wane.

The wave of exciting discoveries kicked off on August 14 when US-headquartered Apache Corp. and local explorer Carnarvon Petroleum announced the Phoenix South-1 oil discovery in the offshore Canning Basin off the north-west coast of WA.

The normally conservative Apache reported that preliminary estimates suggested “that there might be as much as 300 million barrels of oil in place” at Phoenix South and that “Phoenix South may represent a new oil province for Australia.”

Apache’s excitement was matched by the CEO of Carnarvon, Adrian Cook who declared: This is the most significant new oil play in the North West Shelf since the Enfield discovery opened up the Exmouth Basin almost 20 years ago.”

NB: Mr Cook will be making a special lunchtime presentation on the exciting discovery at AOG 2015.


Four days later, Australia’s Santos excited the Australian stock exchange when it announced it had made a “significant” gas-condensate find further to the north in the offshore Browse Basin.

Lasseter-1, located approximately 35 kilometres east-southeast of Santos’ Crown discovery and 480 km north-northeast of Broome, intersected a gross gas condensate bearing interval of 405 metres. Initial wireline logging confirmed 78 metres of net pay.


According to Bill Ovenden, Santos’ Head of Exploration, Lasseter-1 is an important gas discovery for the company.

“Lasseter is a material discovery that adds to our strong position in the Browse, following our success with the Crown discovery in 2012.”



11 days later another exciting new play was unveiled when AWE and Origin Energy reported wireline logs and pressure tests had identified a significant gas discovery in deep sands in the Senecio-3 well in the onshore Perth Basin in WA.

Subsequently re-named the Waitsia field, the discovery has opened up a whole new play opportunity in the onshore Perth Basin and could potentially dramatically change the WA energy equation.

“This is a very exciting discovery that adds considerable momentum to the near-term development potential of the Senecio gas field and other nearby prospects in the north Perth Basin,” AWE’s Managing Director, Bruce Clement, declared.


“The positive appraisal of the Dongara/Wagina reservoir and the discovery of a potentially larger new gas play in the deeper sands have increased the likelihood of commercial development of the Senecio gas field, particularly given the proximity to existing infrastructure,” he added.


AWE and Origin weren’t the only ones excited by the find, with WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion labelling the find was a potential “game-changer” which was very exciting for the local gas industry, promising to revitalise what had been a declining gas field.


“Make no mistake, discoveries like this are about securing the State’s future – your future, my future and our children’s future – providing our communities with accessible, safe, affordable and clean energy,” Mr Marmion said.

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