Magellan expands Australian holdings

Magellan Petroleum Australia Ltd. has added to its permit interests on the North West Shelf off Western Australia and in the Cooper basin of South Australia, acquiring stakes in three licenses.


MELBOURNE�Magellan Petroleum Australia Ltd. has added to its permit interests on the North West Shelf off Western Australia and in the Cooper basin of South Australia. The firm has snagged stakes in two licenses on the shelf and won a joint bid for the Cooper basin acreage.

Magellan acquired a 37.5% working interest in each of permits WA-306-P and WA-307-P, located in the relatively unexplored Rowley sub-basin of the offshore Canning basin and adjacent to the better known Browse basin. Both permits were awarded to Canada's Antrim Energy Inc., along with Rawson Resources NL, in the most recent federal government licensing round. Antrim will serve as operator for the JV. The source of the 37.5% interest was not disclosed.

Magellan says that both permits contain known structural closures mapped using existing seismic data. The Browse basin is known to contain huge gas reserves at the Woodside Petroleum Ltd.-led group�s yet-to-be-developed Brecknock and Scott Reef fields. Woodside has also found a significant oil discovery at Caswell, and Shell�s ill-fated Cornea oil field is also in the region.

The Canning basin is best known for its onshore oil discoveries at the producing Blina, Sundown, and West Terrace fields. There is also an undeveloped gas find right near the coast at Derby called Point Torment.

Magellan now has interests ranging from 17.5% to 100% in eight exploration permits covering 36,000 sq km in the North West Shelf/Timor Sea region.

The Cooper basin license award is shared 50-50 with Adelaide-based Beach Petroleum NL. Known as Block CO-2000-C, the license was awarded to the two firms in the South Australian licensing round last month.

The block is on the northern margin of the basin. It complements three other permits owned by Magellan-Beach on the southern margin of the basin.

Native title negotiations are still in progress over all four areas, and the permits will be granted once satisfactory arrangements have been made. Magellan-Beach plans to drill in each area during the first permit year.

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