MELBOURNE�Perth-based junior Empire Oil & Gas NL has been granted permission by the Western Australian Department of Minerals and Energy to commence an extended production test of the Rough Range 1B well for an initial period of 6 months.
Rough Range field, in Carnarvon Basin near the town of Exmouth, was first discovered by West Australian Petroleum Pty. Ltd. in 1953 and is widely credited with beginning the post-World War II oil search in Australia.
The original well flowed oil but never enough to be commercial at prevailing prices, and 13 subsequent appraisal wells on the structure were dry holes.
During 1999 and 2000 Empire Oil has gone back to the original location, reworked the seismic surveys, and drilled several wells close to the original discovery. The extended production test follows initial testing of the company�s Rough Range 1B well during May this year that flowed at a stabilized rate of 1,106 b/d over 24 hr. The maximum flow rate recorded was 1,608 b/d.
The company has now satisfied government authorities as to safety aspects of an extended test operation and the extended production test facility was commissioned on 13 October 2000. Plans are to flow the well at an initial rate of 500 b/d. The facilities include a crude oil storage tank farm with a 2,000 bbl capacity.
Empire plans to begin road tankering the production to the BP Kwinana oil refinery south of Perth�a journey of some 1,000 km.