Oil major BP has received all the required regulatory approvals for drilling the Ironbark-1 exploration well offshore north-west Australia.

The Ironbark prospect is located in exploration permit WA-359-P, which is situated in the Carnarvon Basin, around 50km from the North West Shelf (NWS) LNG infrastructure.

BP operates and owns 42.5% in the permit. Other partners include Cue Energy (21.5%), Beach Energy (21%), and New Zealand Oil & Gas (15%).

The Well Operations Management Plan and the Safety Case for the Diamond Offshore-owned Ocean Apex semi-submersible drilling rig to be used for the operation were the final regulatory documents required to be approved by Australian offshore regulator NOPSEMA.

According to Cue Energy, the rig is set to mobilise in mid-October, with drilling due to start later that month.

The well is expected to be drilled at a depth of 5,500m.

In an ASX announcement, Cue Energy stated: “Cue is fully funded for its expected participating interest costs of the well through funding from farm-in agreements with partners BP, Beach Energy and New Zealand Oil & Gas and approximately $8m of cash reserves which have been escrowed.”

In June 2019, Cue Exploration formed a joint venture (JV) with partner companies to test the Ironbark prospect in WA-359-P.

In October 2018, Cue Energy Resources’ subsidiary Cue Exploration signed an agreement with BP Developments, Beach Energy and New Zealand Oil & Gas to form a JV to undertake drilling operations at the Ironbark-1 exploration well.