Tata Petrodyne bets $65m on Timor Sea

Vol 16, PW 11 (13 Dec 12) Exploration & Production

Tata Petrodyne has budgeted an impressive $65m to drill a single exploration well at the 835-sq km block AC08-4 offshore Australia, where it is operator with 100%.

“Australian authorities have been informed we want to enter Phase-II of the exploration period,” Anupam Mathur, Tata Petrodyne CEO, tells PETROWATCH. “We have identified good prospects there and want to drill the (optional) well.

” Mathur is confident the well will be a success as PTT Thailand reported a gas discovery at an exploration block 20-km away. “We also hope to discover gas,” he says.

Exploration block AC08-4 lies in the Timor Sea about 700-km west of Darwin in water depths of 100 to 200 metres near the Ashmore and Cartier Islands. Australian authorities awarded the block to Tata in 2008.

PGS shot 450-sq km of 3D in 2011 for around $6m in Phase-I. This was processed in Malaysia and interpreted by Tata in-house but validated by Fugro earlier this year.

Tata plans to drill the proposed Phase-II well in 2014 as it has until 2015 to complete the six-year exploration period (Phase-I and II). It will drill the well to 4600 metres TD in water depths of 120 metres to target Triassic era sediments.

Unlike NELP rules in India, Australian exploration permit rules do not oblige Tata to surrender parts of the block before entering the three-year Phase-II. “You either take the whole block to the next phase or surrender it completely and move out,” explains Mathur.

In the UK, Tata held a 25% investor stake in North Sea exploration block 48-1b/2c alongside operator Bridge Energy (25%), Bharat Petroleum (25%) and Encore Oil (25%).