Statoil has spud its next well in an Australian shale basin where it has a joint venture with Canadian player PetroFrontier.
The OzDelta-1 well, the fourth of at least five wells to be drilled this year, is a vertical exploration well located in Exploration Permit 128. The third, the OzBeta-1, finished drilling just under a month ago and its core will be analysed in September.
The wells are testing the Lower Arthur Creek and Thorntonia formations in the Southern Georgina basin in Australia's Northern Territory.
Of the five-well programme, up to three will be cased for future hydraulic fracture stimulation and production testing.
Once OzDelta is finished drilled, the rig will be moved to spud the fifth well, OzEpsilon-1, on EP 128.
Statoil and PetroFrontier inked the joint venture deal in 2012. The Norwegian operator will spend up to $175 million through 2016 before PetroFrontier will be required to contribute further. In exchange, Statoil will earn an 80% working interest in the prospects.
The venture also covers EP 103, EP 104 and EP 127.
Statoil has experience developing shale plays in the US such as the Bakken and Marcellus.