Exploration quickens in Georgina basin off Australia

France’s Total SA and Central Petroleum Ltd., Perth, have accelerated the first exploration phase of the joint venture’s program in the Georgina basin that straddles the onshore border of Northern Territory and Queensland.

The JV announced an increase of $35 million in expenditure for Phase 1 to $95 million. This covers exploration activity in three Queensland permits—ATPs 909, 911, and 912—and one that is still in application status in the Northern Territory, EPA132.

The overall exploration expenditure of $190 million for the 4-year, three-stage program will remain the same for the present. The increase for Phase 1 brings forward expenditure originally planned for Phases 2 and 3.

Total is funding the first 80% of spending with Central contributing 20%.

The structure of the farm-in remains the same with Total retaining the option to take operatorship and hold a 68% working interest in all areas once the total expenditure has been reached.

So far 974 km of 2D seismic data have been acquired across the Queensland permits and a number of core wells are planned for April 2014.

Exploration will not begin in the Northern Territory until the permit application has been granted. At the moment it is awaiting the execution of a native title agreement with traditional owners through the Central Land Council in Alice Springs. A sum of $11.5 million has been put aside for work in the Northwest Territories area.

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