Australia’s Santos launches Bayu-Undan drilling campaign

Australian LNG player Santos has started a $235 million infill drilling campaign at the Bayu-Undan field located offshore Timor-Leste.

The start of the Phase 3C drilling program follows a final investment decision in January this year.

Sanction of the project came less than seven months after Santos became operator of the Bayu-Undan joint venture following completion of the acquisition of ConocoPhillips’ northern Australia and Timor-Leste assets.

To remind, operator Santos has also in March announced a final investment decision on the $3.6 billion Barossa gas project offshore northern Australia. Santos expects first gas from Barossa to backfill Darwin LNG in the first half of 2025.

First production in Q3

The new Bayu-Undan drilling program comprises of three production wells and will develop additional natural gas and liquids reserves, extending field life as well as production from the offshore facilities and the Santos-operated Darwin LNG plant.

Moreover, Santos says the JV will drill the wells using the Noble Tom Prosser jack-up rig, with the first well scheduled to spud in the second quarter this year, and production from the first well expected in the third.

“Only by way of a close and constructive working relationship with the Timor-Leste government, through the Autoridade Nacional do Petróleo e Minerais (ANPM), and our joint venture partners have we been able to move so quickly towards our shared goal of safely maximising value from the Bayu-Undan field,” Santos chief executive Kevin Gallagher, said

“The infill drilling program will add over 20 million barrels of oil equivalent gross reserves and production at a low cost of supply and importantly extends the life of Bayu-Undan and the jobs and investment that rely on it,” he said.

“With more than 400 Timorese currently working on Bayu-Undan activities, this will make an important economic contribution to Timor-Leste and keep our workforce both in Timor-Leste and Darwin in jobs for longer,” Gallagher said.

Santos has a 43.4% operated interest in Bayu-Undan. Other partners include SK E&S (25%), Inpex (11.4%), Eni (11%), JERA (6.1%), and Tokyo Gas (3.1%).

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