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Unconventional oil and gas continues to make waves in Australia: Part Two  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - ProactiveInvestors - Australia - 12/11/2012

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(MENAFN - ProactiveInvestors - Australia) During the first part of our two part series on unconventional oil and gas companies, we examined companies in the Perth and Canning basins, which benefit from established infrastructure.

Proactive Investors now looks at the other prospective basins, which have also seen a considerable uptick in activity.

Canning Basin

New Standard Energy (ASX: NSE) is currently drilling with ConocoPhillips three wells targeting the Goldwyer Shale in Canning Basin with the first well, Nicolay-1, intersecting continuous elevated gas shows across broad zones of shale.

The Goldwyer has a prognosed thickness of between 300 metres and 500 metres across NSE's acreage of more than 11 million acres and had been assessed by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2010 as hosting Risked Recoverable Resources of 229 trillion cubic feet across the Canning Basin.

Preparation is also underway on the second well.

Besides ConocoPhillips funding most, if not all the costs of this drilling program, NSE is working to farm out its Merlinleigh permits in the onshore Carnarvon Basin and has cash in hand of about A65 million.

Key Petroleum (ASX: KEY) also offers investors an attractive entry into the Canning Basin, holding three exploration permits, a retention licence and a production licence in the onshore Canning Basin.

More recently, the company has been given the responsibility of operating the upcoming Cyrene-1 well that will core the Goldwyer Shale as well as test the conventional Willara Formation that is estimated to host 5 million barrels of oil.

Importantly, Buru Energy (ASX: BRU) and Mitsubishi are contributing A3 million to seismic and exploration drilling within EP 438 to increase their stake to 75%, making it likely that any success will be followed up by the successful Canning Basin explorer and producer.

Key also holds EP 448 that holds the prospective Nita Formation as well as the Goldwyer, and near term production potential from existing wells, which could be brought back into production through workovers.

McArthur and Southern Georgina Basins

While both the McArthur and Southern Georgina are large basins with considerable potential, both are comparatively underexplored compared to the other basins covered so far.

Armour Energy (ASX: AJQ) has drilled a number of wells in the McArthur Basin and importantly for investors, has successfully flowed gas to surface at rates of between 3.5 million and 4.5 million cubic feet per day from its Glyde-1 well, which was not stimulated.

This is a strong point in favour for the target Barney Creek Shale and raises the possibility that fracture stimulation could further increase flow rates from wells in the Glyde Sub-Basin, which covers about 500 square kilometres.

Also in the region is Empire Energy Group (ASX: EEG), which holds seven petroleum exploration licence applications.

While the company's focus is on its U.S. operations and it still us some work before it firms up exploration licences, its proximity to Armour's successful drilling bodes well for any future exploration.

Over in the Southern Georgina Basin, Baraka Energy & Resources (ASX: BKP) has received a demonstration of the prospectivity of its acreage with Norwegian state oil company Statoil taking a stake in Canadian partner PetroFrontier (CVE: PFC) permits.

These include EP 127 and EP 128, where Baraka holds and will retain following the PetroFrontier farm-out, a 25% interest in both permits.

While the Statoil farm-in is a strong indicator of prospectivity, initial log data and core samples from PetroFrontier's Owen-3H well have confirmed the presence of oil.

This allows Baraka to place weight on the south eastern area of EP 127 displaying similar or identical results if and when any drilling programs in that area are embarked on in the future.


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