Empire Energy has submitted an environment management plan (EMP) for hydraulic stimulation of the vertical Carpentaria-1 well in the Northern Territory.
The company has also applied for clearance to commence drilling and hydraulic stimulation of a section from the Carpentaria-1 wellbore targeting the Middle Velkerri Shale.
Northern Territory’s Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security (DEPWS) has accepted the EMP for final assessment, with approval expected in the first quarter of 2021. Once approved, the EMP will remain in place for five years.
The multi-stage vertical hydraulic stimulation of Carpentaria-1 will be run over the most promising liquids rich gas intervals of the Velkerri Formation.
Empire has advised that a data analysis to select these intervals is now being conducted by its technical team in readiness for commencement of field operations in the second quarter of 2021.
In addition, the company is in discussions with service providers to execute the fracture stimulation and have confirmed that the equipment will be available.
Empire managing director Alex Underwood described 2020 as a breakout year for the company.
“We drilled our first Beetaloo Basin well, Carpentaria-1, which intersected the thickest interval of Middle Velkerri Shale of any well drilled in the basin to date, with the highest liquids to gas ratio,” Underwood said.
“Following this success, we are now planning for appraisal stimulation and flow testing to commence at the beginning of next year’s Dry Season. Multiple operators across the basin have confirmed their intention to drill, fracture stimulate and flow test wells in 2021 also targeting the Velkerri Shale.”
Looking ahead, the company’s management team is building strategies for it to be first operator to sell commercial volumes of Beetaloo Basin liquids rich gas into the Australian market.
Initial commercialisation could be via the Daly Waters to McArthur River Mine pipeline which runs through EP187 and lies 5.7km from the Carpentaria-1 wellhead.
To the east it supplies the McArthur River Mine Power Station, a 77MW gas fired power plant supporting Glencore’s large scale zinc mining operation with 9 terajoules a day (TJ/d) of energy.
The pipeline has a nameplate capacity of 16TJ/d and conceptually Empire could deliver gas in both directions from a Carpentaria-1 spur line, with the 9TJ/d eastward to McArthur River Mine and 16TJ/d westward to Daly Waters and domestic markets for a total of 25TJ/d, an attractive economic proposition for maiden production.
“The world-class potential of the Beetaloo is well recognised by Australia’s political leaders and major infrastructure developers, with billions of dollars of pipeline construction to connect the basin to the undersupplied East Coast and Darwin in advanced planning,” Underwood added