Woodside to assess Carnarvon basin discoveries

Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd. has committed $54.6 million (Aus.) for development studies and appraisal drilling on the Vincent and Enfield oil discoveries in the offshore Carnarvon basin. The move may be part of a push to receive a higher takeover offer from Shell Australia Ltd.


MELBOURNE�Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd. has committed $54.6 million (Aus.) for development studies and appraisal drilling on the Vincent and Enfield oil discoveries in the offshore Carnarvon basin. The move may be part of a push to receive a higher bid from Shell Australia Ltd. (OGJ Online, May 22, 2000).

Enfield is likely to be first in line for development, with an appraisal well possible later this year. Preliminary studies indicate that the field will be commercially viable. In line with recent trends in the North West Shelf-Timor Sea region, the development will probably involve subsea production wellheads tied to a floating storage, production, and offloading vessel. The field could be brought on stream in 2005.

Vincent is expected to be larger than Enfield, but it crosses the boundary into an adjacent permit operated by BHP Petroleum Pty. Ltd. and will need a unification agreement prior to development.

Both fields were discovered in the last 18 months and indicate a push by Woodside to increase its oil production as a means of reducing the company�s financial reliance on the North West Shelf LNG project. Recent 3D seismic work has delineated a number of promising oil plays in the region.

The move is also seen as part of a campaign to extract a large premium from Shell Australia Ltd. for its proposed takeover of Woodside. Early in May, Shell offered to swap its Australian and New Zealand oil and gas assets in exchange for control of Woodside. Details remain under wraps, but Shell has not offered any cash as part of the deal, and Woodside�s independent directors are expected to demand that Shell give Woodside shareholders a large premium for the coveted control.

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