Australia's Santos has moved into the next phase of proving up the commerciality of its Tanumbirini shale gas resource in Australia's remote Beetaloo basin.

Fracture stimulation of two new horizontal wells has just begun, with initial flow test results expected in December 2021, said Santos' joint venture partner Tamboran Resources.

The pair began drilling the first of the two new wells in May 2021, with the intent of drilling and completing the wells, then releasing the drilling rig Easternwell Rig 106, and then establishing commercial flow rates through the fracture stimulation effort.

Both wells - Tanumbirini-2H and Tanumbirini-3H - encountered significant gas shows and pressures during the drilling phase.

Tamboran's chief executive Joel Riddle said: “The CY2021 drilling program was conducted safely and without incident, a testament to the excellent leadership and unwavering commitment to health, safety and environment by the rig crew."

“The EP 161 joint venture will now test the productivity of each well, with approximately 10 stages of fracture stimulations per well in the target formation of the Mid-Velkerri ‘B’."

“The CY2021 drilling program in EP 161 has provided Tamboran with key learnings and knowledge that we intend to incorporate into the drilling of the 100%-owned and operated Maverick-1H, located in EP 136, during CY2022.”

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