Exploration and appraisal activity is set to intensify again in Australia’s Perth basin, the country’s most exciting onshore conventional play, as operators pursue significant gas resources.

Two operators — Strike Energy and Energy Resources — have finalised contracts for the drilling rig Ensign Rig 970 for a combined four firm wells and up to three additional wells.

Norwest Energy, a joint-venture partner of Energy Resources, said the rig would drill the Lockyer-2 and North Erregulla Deep-1 wells starting potentially in late March 2023.