Santos and Carnarvon Energy have made a material shallow-water oil discovery with the Pavo-1 exploration well in the Dorado oilfield area offshore Western Australia.

Wireline logging confirmed a net oil pay thickness of 46 metres within a gross hydrocarbon column of 60 metres in the target Caley reservoir, said Carnarvon.

Excellent reservoir characteristics and high quality, light oil recovered to the surface indicate high flow rates on production.

A best estimate contingent resource for the northern culmination at Pavo-1 is assessed at 43 million barrels of oil gross, said the operator Santos, adding that the oil appeared to be a light sweet crude of 52 degrees API with a low gas-oil ratio.

The result is expected to support a subsea tie-back of Pavo to the planned Dorado production facilities which will be located 46 kilometres away.

The Pavo-1 well is being drilled using the jack-up drilling rig Noble Tom Prosser in a water depth of 88 metres.

The well is still drilling ahead to a planned total depth of 4200 metres. The deepening of the well is focused on Early Triassic and Upper Permian stratigraphy not previously drilled in the basin and will provide key information to de-risk a significant number of gas and oil prospects in the Bedout sub-basin, said Santos.

Once wireline logging operations are completed at total depth, the well will be plugged and permanently decommissioned, and the rig will move to drill the larger Apus-1 exploration well, which is 31 kilometres away from the Dorado field.

Pavo-1 is located on Block WA-438-P in which Santos holds a 70% operating interest and Carnarvon has 30%.

“Today we announce another important oil discovery in the Bedout basin, with high quality oil having now been recovered to surface from excellent quality reservoirs," said Carnarvon chief executive Adrian Cook.

"Subject to the joint venture making a final investment decision this year, the Dorado production infrastructure is planned to be in-place by the end of 2025 and will have the capacity to tie-in other fields like Pavo with no material increase in operational costs.

"Pavo proves the extension of a working petroleum system some 46 kilometres east of Dorado.

“The well demonstrates that quality reservoir and trapping mechanisms are effective in this area, which hosts a suite of other exploration targets. These will now warrant further assessment for drilling.

"Overall, we are extremely pleased with the Pavo-1 result and are looking forward to it adding significant value within what is now expected to be an expanded Dorado production hub.”

Santos said Pavo-1 was drilled on the northern culmination of the structure, and the result significantly de-risked the hydrocarbon-bearing potential of the separate southern culmination of the structure.

The southern culmination has an additional best estimate probable prospective resource of 40 million barrels of oil gross and a probability of geologic success of 60%.

Pavo and Apus locations Photo: SANTOS
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