The Pavo prospect is located in the Bedout sub-basin, offshore Western Australia. Credit: Santos Ltd.
The Pavo discovery was made by the Pavo-1 well, which was drilled using the Noble Tom Prosser rig. Credit: Victorian Regional Channels Authority.
The Pavo-1 well was drilled to a total depth of 4,235m measured depth (MD). Credit: Carnarvon Energy Limited.

The Pavo oil and gas discovery is located in the WA-438-P exploration permit, near the Dorado oil and gas field, offshore Western Australia.

Discovered in March 2022, the prospect is situated within the proven Bedout basin acreage, which hosts about 100 prospects.

The Pavo discovery is owned by a joint venture of Australian oil and gas companies Santos and Carnarvon Energy. Santos operates the WA-438-P permit with 70% interest while Carnarvon Energy holds the remaining 30% interest.

The discovery de-risks a number of existing prospects in the Bedout sub-basin.

Location and reserves

The prospect is located 46km east of the Dorado field and 160km north-north-east of Port Hedland in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

It is estimated to contain gross resources of 82 million barrels of oil and 108 billion ft³ (bcf) of gas. The total mean prospective resource is estimated at 101 million barrels of oil equivalent (Mboe).

Pavo discovery details

The Pavo prospect was discovered by the Pavo-1 well at a water depth of 88m.

The discovery well was drilled on the northern culmination of the greater Pavo structure using the Noble Tom Prosser jack-up drilling rig. It encountered an oil-water contact at a measured depth (MD) of 3,004m as well as a 60m gross hydrocarbon column in the primary Caley member reservoir target.

The well was deepened to a final total depth of 4,235m MD, targeting the Early Triassic and Upper Permian stratigraphy, which was previously undrilled in the Bedout sub-basin.

Wireline data indicated a net oil pay of 46m. The discovery confirmed excellent reservoir characteristics, with average porosity of 19% and hydrocarbon saturation of 80%.

Preliminary analysis confirmed the presence of 52° API light sweet oil with a low gas-oil ratio.

The light oil, along with excellent reservoir characteristics, is expected to support high flow rates on production.

Development plan

The Pavo prospect is expected to be developed as a potential low-cost tie-back to the floating production, storage and offtake vessel (FPSO) of the proposed Dorado oil and gas development.

Further activities in 2022 will include exploration drilling at the prospect. Appraisal drilling is planned for 2023.

The tie-back is expected to increase production at the Dorado production facility.

Drilling rig details

The Noble Tom Prosser jack-up drilling rig is owned by Noble, an offshore drilling contractor based in the UK. Built by Jurong Shipyard in 2014, it is based on Friede & Goldman’s JU3000N design.

The rig has a length of 231ft, breadth of 277ft and depth of 31ft. It can operate at a water depth of 400ft and reach a maximum drilling depth of 35,000ft.

It has a fuel capacity of 5,185 barrels, brine and base oil storage capacity of 2,213 barrels each, and a bulk storage capacity of 18,000ft³.

Noble Tom Prosser features a Friede & Goldman VFD-850 jacking system and is equipped with five Caterpillar C-175-16 engines.

Bedout sub-basin details

The Bedout sub-basin lies in the shallow North-West Shelf, approximately 100km north of Port Hedland in Western Australia. The basin has proven reserves of 200 million barrels of liquids and 1.1 trillion cubic feet of gas. It hosts multiple prospects, including Apus, Kepler, and Petrus, apart from the Pavo and Dorado discoveries.

Apus is estimated to contain a mean recoverable volume of 235 million barrels of liquids and 408bcf of gas. Petrus is estimated to hold 46 million barrels of liquids and 79bcf of gas, while Kepler is estimated to hold 12 million barrels of liquids and 21bcf of gas.

Discovered in 2018, the Dorado oil and gas field is located within the WA-437-P permit in the Bedout basin. It is a low emission intensity oil project with a carbon dioxide (CO₂) content of 1.5%.

The field has a contingent gross 2C resource of 162 million barrels. The oil production during phase one is estimated at between 75,000 to 100,000 barrels a day of high-quality crude.

The production licence for the Dorado oil field was awarded by the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator in April 2022. The final investment decision (FID) for the Dorado project is expected by mid-2022.

The Roc discovery is also located in the WA-437-P permit.