The JV comprising LLOG Exploration, Karoon Energy and Westlawn has sanctioned the drilling of two new exploration wells in the Who Dat field in the US Gulf of Mexico (GOM).

The decision marks a significant step in appraising and exploring the potential of the field, with an investment estimated between $67m (A$101.38m) and $77m net to Karoon.

The Who Dat field, a conventional deepwater oil and gas operation, is situated offshore Louisiana in approximately 2,625ft of water.

The JV will drill the Who Dat East appraisal and exploration well and the Who Dat South exploration well.

LLOG and Karoon each hold a 40% interest, while Westlawn Group owns the remaining 20% stake in the Who Dat East well, MC 509-1, which is expected to spud in the first half of April using the Noble Valiant drill ship.

The well will define a discovery made in 2001 and test further Middle Miocene section targets.

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The Who Dat East well is estimated to contain 17 million barrels of oil equivalent (mboe) of gross unrisked 2C contingent resources and 35mboe  of gross unrisked 2U prospective resources, with a 62% total geological probability of success.

It will be drilled to a total measured depth of approximately 26,000ft and is expected to take around 56 days to drill and evaluate.

The Who Dat South prospect is approximately 6.8 miles south-west of the Who Dat floating production system.

Its MC 545-1 exploration well is slated to spud towards the end of the second quarter utilising the Seadrill West Neptune drill ship.

LLOG owns a 40% stake and Karoon and Westlawn each hold 30% in this prospect.

This well aims to test two Miocene section targets, with the shallower one akin to the reservoir in the G-1 well in Who Dat.

Karoon estimates the prospect holds 31mboe of gross unrisked 2U prospective resources and a 52% geological probability of success.

Karoon’s total committed capital expenditure (capex) for 2024 has risen to between $117m and $134m, an enhancement of $67–77m, because of the drilling plans.

The Who Dat East exploration drilling costs include a two-for-one carry, capped at $23m.

Karoon stated that the contingent capex of $33–43m associated with the Who Dat West exploration well is still subject to the approval of the JV.

The company stated that the total estimated cost of the three-well GOM drilling programme of $100–120m, along with all other guidance provided on 29 February this year, is not changed.

In December 2023, Karoon acquired interests in the US Gulf of Mexico from LLOG for $720m. These include a 30% working interest in the Who Dat and Dome Patrol fields, and related infrastructure, an around a 16% working interest in the Abilene field.