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Santos boosts operated position across offshore Northern Australia

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LNG Industry,

Santos has announced that it has reached an agreement to align the company’s interests, under Santos ownership, across four exploration permits in the Bonaparte Basin offshore Northern Australia adjacent to a large existing contingent resource.

According to the statement, the company’s position within the basin already includes an 11.5% interest in the Bayu-Undan gas-condensate field and the Darwin LNG plant, as well as a 25% interest in the Barossa field. The Barossa field is currently in the front-end engineering and design (FEED) stage, and is the leading candidate to backfill Darwin LNG.

Santos’ transaction with Beach Energy will see both parties become 50/50 joint venture partners across NT/P82, NT/P85, NT/P84 and WA-454-P. Santos claims that it will operate all four of the permits.

According to the statement, permits NT/P82 and NT/P85 are located immediately south of the Barossa project area, where the company acquired the 4347 km2 Bethany 3D seismic survey last year.

NT/P84 and WA-454-P, meanwhile, are reportedly proximal to the Petrel/Tern/Frigate field complex in the Petrel sub-basin, where separate agreements with Neptune Energy see Santos move to 100% operated interest in the Tern and Frigate fields and a 40.25% interest in the Petrel field, subject to customary approvals.

Kevin Gallagher, the Managing Director and CEO of Santos, said: “This alignment of equity and operatorship will allow for a more strategic approach to the next phase of exploration in the region.

“It also reinforces Santos’ significant exploration and existing substantial resource position in offshore Northern Australia and is a good example of industry collaboration aimed at doing things smarter.”

“We continue to chase material resource opportunities offshore Northern Australia to support our established infrastructure position at Darwin, with an eye to both export and domestic markets.”

“The next step for these permits is to evaluate new and existing seismic data to build inventory and define potential targets for drilling within the next few years. Permits NT/P82 and NT/P85, which are located immediately south of our Barossa project, will be a key focus for this work.”

According to the statement, Santos also holds 100% of WA-459-P and has an option to acquire a 40% operated interest of WA-488-P, where processing of a new 3D seismic survey over the large Beehive prospect is nearly complete.

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