Offshore oil and gas explorer 3D Oil has received letter of award from ConocoPhillips Australia for the Transocean Equinox drilling rig to support an exploration drilling programme in the Otway Basin in Australia.

The drilling programme is due to be carried out in exploration permits VIC/P79 and T/49P in Commonwealth waters offshore Victoria and King Island, Tasmania.

ConocoPhillips Australia operates the two exploration permits while 3D Oil owns a 20% stake in each of the permits.

3D Oil expects the Transocean Equinox harsh-environment, semi-submersible rig to arrive in the first quarter of 2025. The letter of award includes an additional 120 days of optional drilling.

ConocoPhillips Australia has started preparation for an environment plan (EP), which will involve seabed surveys and the drilling of up to six exploration wells in the two exploration permits.

The drilling work at the two permits is subject to regulatory approvals from the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA). The company plans to submit the EP to NOPSEMA in 2023.

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By GlobalData

In a press statement, 3D Oil said: “The drilling of two exploration wells with limited financial exposure to 3D Oil could be a transformational event for the company. This is an important step in [the company’s] ambition to be a significant East Coast gas producer.”

Covering an area of 1006km² in shallow waters of the southern offshore Gippsland Basin, the VIC/P74 permit is located adjacent to the Kingfish Field, as well as the Bream and Luderick gas fields.

The 4,960km² T/49P lies adjacent to the significant Thylacine and Geographe gas discoveries.