Norwegian state player Statoil has spudded the fifth and possibly final well this year in an Australian onshore shale basin.
The operator of Exploration Permit 128 in the Southern Georgina basin in Northern Territory has spun the bit on the OzEpsilon-1 exploration well, Canadian partner PetroFrontier said.
The rig had previously drilled the fourth of at least five Statoil wells on the play this year, OzDelta-1, which penetrated the Lower Arthur Creek and Thorntonia formations, with 32 metres of core taken for testing.
After OzEpsilon-1, the rig will be demobilised and hydraulic fracture stimulation and production testing will be carried out on three of the previously drilled wells: OzAlpha-1 in EP 104, OzBeta-1 in EP 127, OzGamma-1 in EP 103, and OzDelta-1 in EP 128.
Statoil is the operator of the wells with a 60% interest, while PetroFrontier holds a 15% interest and Baraka Energy & Resources holds 25%.