The Bonaparte Basin is a frontier basin in the north of the Northern Territory with a proven hydrocarbon system. Several large gas fields have been discovered offshore (undeveloped Contingent Resources of 2.7 Tcf in Petrel, Tern and Frigate) and the producing Black Tip field (2P 933 Bcf) supplies gas to Darwin.
The Bonaparte Basin covers an area of ~270,000 km, of which around 20,000 km2 is onshore. The basin is structurally complex and consists of several platform areas and sub-basins. The onshore Weaber Gas Field (RL-1, Advent Energy 100%), and surface bitumen seeps, provide direct evidence of a working petroleum system in the Keep Inlet Sub-Basin.
EP 126 represents a low-cost entry with excellent exploration potential. Vintage executed a Sale and Purchase Agreement with Beach Petroleum (NT) Pty Ltd, dated 31 July 2018, and acquired 100% equity in EP 126 for nil cash consideration. Vintage takes responsibility for the cased and suspended Cullen-1 well which was drilled to a TD of 3,325mKB in 2014. Planning is underway for the testing of multiple possible gas zones in the well, subject to government approval.
EP 126 is a large permit with an area of 6,716 km2 and provides a high risk/high reward project that complements the current portfolio. There are multiple play types, with potential for large volumes of gas and oil. Cullen-1 was drilled in 2014, with both oil and gas shows, and was cased and suspended to be available as an option to test.
The Northern Territory (“NT”) Government has advised that approximately 50% of the NT could be declared as reserved areas and is currently undertaking a consultation process with those petroleum companies affected by its proposal. Under the proposal, Sites of Conservation Significance (“SOCS”) are one of the categories of land that will be declared ‘no go zones’ for petroleum exploration and production and be excised from pre-existing and future petroleum licence areas. A considerable portion of the prospective areas within Vintage’s EP 126 is affected by the proposed reserved area as SOCS. A submission has been made to the NT Government and clearly outlines Vintage’s view that past, current and future approved land use within the majority of EP 126 are inconsistent with the declaration of a reserved area on the basis of a SOCS.
EP 126 is an area that is largely covered by pastoral leases and is the NT Government approved location for the world’s largest prawn farm planned for construction by Seafarms Ltd. The Cullen-1 well, which was drilled, cased and suspended by Beach Energy Ltd, is located within the area of the proposed prawn farm and thus presents an excellent opportunity to provide natural gas as an energy source for the aquaculture project. The Cullen-1 well is also located within the proposed reserved area which has been defined as a SOCS area.
Considering the current land use within EP 126, Vintage made a submission to the NT Government as part of its consultation process to have the prospective areas of the EP 126 permit excluded from the proposed reserved area. Vintage considers the extent of reserved area is inconsistent with past petroleum activities, current pastoral activities and future approved activities associated with development of the prawn farm. Vintage also considers that effective environmental management, as approved under existing petroleum regulations, has already been demonstrated by past activities in EP 126 and is sufficient to minimise any environmental impact in the area.
Vintage plans to test the already drilled Cullen-1 well to better understand the ability of the well to flow natural gas. Vintage believes that there is an excellent opportunity to find commercial quantities of natural gas in EP 126 which could provide favourable economic benefit to the Northern Territory, in terms of job creation and the delivery of much needed gas to local industry and the general market.