Santos has secured an offshore exploration licence in Northern Carnarvon Basin, offshore Western Australia.

The National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA) has awarded the Exploration Permit WA-546-P to the Australian oil and gas company. The expiration date for the licence has been set at 20 December 2026.

The company had applied for the offshore licence in March this year.

Consisting of 14 blocks, the offshore exploration permits covers an area of 1,123 km2 and is located in the Dampier sub-basin.

During the first three years of the licence period, Santos is expected to carry out seismic data works, geotechnical studies, generate prospects and leads, and carry out play models.

Later, the company is anticipated to begin planning for one exploration well in the fourth year of the offshore permit, Offshore Engineer reported.

Santos is expected to drill an exploration well in the fifth year that starts on 21 December 2024.

In the sixth year, the company is expected to conduct post drilling activities that will include post-well studies.

In November, Santos has secured a $750m five-year bank loan to refinance its existing loan taken to fund the acquisition of ConocoPhillips’ northern Australian and Timor-Leste assets.

The bank loan taken by Australian liquefied natural gas (LNG) operator that will mature in January 2026.

In April, Santos announced signing a letter of intent (LoI) with Japan’s JERA to sell a 12.5% stake in Barossa project, offshore Northern Australia.