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Empire spuds Beetaloo Basin oil well

Empire Energy has commenced drilling a highly anticipated oil well in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin. The Carpentaria 2H well will test for oil in Velkerri shales 200 metres downdip from Carpentaria 1. Carpentaria 2H is located 11 kilometres north of the Carpentaria 1 discovery well and will be drilled to 1,800m before turning south and drilling horizontally for one kilometre along the world-class oil rich Velkerri shales.

Following completion of drilling operations, the well will undergo an extensive formation evaluation program to inform updated resource assessments.

Geological conditions 200m deeper than in Carpentaria 1 are hotter with greater formation pressure, which means the gas is anticipated to have a higher methane content and lower ethane, pentane and propane levels. Total contained gas resources can also improve with depth. Having recently recorded an almost 45 per cent increase in the average flow rate at Carpenteria 1, Empire’s results appear to emphasise the significant development potential of the company’s Beetaloo basin acreage.

The company anticipates the entire drilling operation to take 45 days and the well will then be suspended for extensive analysis of data gathered during drilling and formation evaluation operations. Once the most valuable target layers within the Velkerri have been identified and engineering details have been worked out, Empire will be able to re-enter the hole for stimulation and flow testing in the second quarter of 2022, after the wet season.

Empire is not wasting any time setting up its dynasty in the Beetaloo Basin. With gas transport and liquids handling agreements already in place with APA Group and the Northern Territory Power and Water Corporation in addition to a memorandum of understanding for the potential sale of gas, the company has a clear runway to market now for any future production.

The APA MoU includes the dual strategic objective of the expansion of Darwin’s LNG export facilities and the construction of a pipeline to Mount Isa. The pipeline, in turn will allow gas to be moved to the east-coast domestic markets and exported as LNG through Gladstone.

Company management says updated independently certified resource estimates incorporating data from C2H will be released in Q1 of 2022.

In anticipation of an ongoing appraisal-drilling program, Empire has commenced gathering an additional 162 line kilometres of 2D seismic data over its Velkerri target in exploration permit 187. Shooting has already commenced and the survey is scheduled for completion within 2 weeks.

With a handy $30 million in the bank, major transportation and sales agreements all wrapped up and an active drilling and testing program underway, Empire looks set for a solid run up to Xmas.

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@wanews.com.au

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