Cooper Energy has secured a new offshore exploration permit in the Gippsland Basin, offshore Victoria in Australia.

The VIC/P72 exploration permit is adjacent to the company’s VIC/L21 licence, which contains the depleted Patricia-Baleen gas field and related subsea production infrastructure that is connected to the Orbost gas processing plant.

Awarded for a period of six years, the new exploration permit is located near existing oil and gas fields, including Esso-operated Snapper, Marlin, Sunfish and Sweetlips and SGH Energy-operated Longtom gas field.

Cooper Energy managing director David Maxwell said: “From a technical perspective, the permit is located in a proven gas and oil province, is surrounded by producing fields, is covered by high-quality 3D seismic data and has identified prospects.”

“The new exploration opportunity complements our existing project construction at SOLE and the work we are doing to mature Manta as the next Gippsland Basin development.”

Due to the proximity of the permit to market and the company’s gas production infrastructure at Patricia Baleen, it provides commercial opportunities.

Maxwell further added: “The offshore Gippsland Basin is a key supply source for south-east Australian gas demand and we expect that discoveries in VIC/P72 will have excellent prospects for rapid commercialisation through the company’s existing infrastructure.

“The new exploration opportunity complements our existing project construction at Sole and the work we are doing to mature Manta as the next Gippsland Basin development.”

The first three years of the six-year term will involve a guaranteed work programme comprising 260km² of 3D seismic reprocessing and studies and the drilling of one exploration well.