Joint venture partner Cue Energy has confirmed that the final approvals for drilling of the Ironbark-1 well in the Carnarvon Basin offshore Western Australia have been received.
Operator BP (42.5 per cent) is making final preparations for the handover of the Ocean Apex rig, which is expected to be in October, Cue added.
The company outlined that the well operations management plan and safety case for the Ocean Apex drilling rig, the final regulatory documents that required National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) approval, have been given the green light by the regulator.
In July, BP had its environment plan approved by NOPSEMA, which included exploration drilling and associated activities to be undertaken by the company with a mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU).
Mobilisation of the rig for the Ironbark-1 well is expected to commence mid-October, with drilling to begin by the end of October.
Drilling is expected to take 90-100 days, with activities to be conducted on a 24-hour basis. The drill will be supported by three mobile positioned vessels, including one supply vessel and two anchor handling vessels.
The Ironbark exploration drilling program comprises the drilling, evaluation and plugging and abandonment of one exploration well.
Ironbark-1 is in exploration permit WA-359-P, 50km from existing North West Shelf liquified natural gas (LNG) infrastructure. It is expected the well will be drilled to 5500m and be the first test of the Ironbark gas prospect.
Cue (21.5 per cent), with US$8 million ($11 million) of cash reserves escrowed, is funded for its participating interest costs of the well through proceeds from farm-in agreements with partners BP, Beach Energy (21 per cent) and New Zealand Oil & Gas (15 per cent).