$21 million Beetaloo Drilling Grants Approved
- The Federal Government has approved up to $21 million in grant funding to Empire under the Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program
- The funding will support the drilling and flow testing of up to 3 fracture stimulated horizontal appraisal wells in Empire's 100% owned EP187 tenement, additional seismic acquisition and other associated costs
- Empire's planning for its first fracture stimulated horizontal appraisal well later this year is well advanced and fully funded
- Empire expects to commence drilling its first horizontal appraisal well, which will benefit from the grant funding, in Q4 this year (subject to NT Government approvals which are well advanced)
- The program will continue under the mutually agreed exploration agreement with the full and informed consent of traditional owners
Comments from Managing Director Alex Underwood: "We welcome the award of Federal Government grants to support our planned exploration and appraisal in the Beetaloo Sub-basin. This funding will accelerate our activities and enable a rapid commercialisation strategy. Our planning for further seismic acquisition and the drilling and completion of our first horizontal well, which will benefit from this grant funding, is progressing well.
The NT Government approval process is well advanced and our subsurface and operational teams are carrying out preparatory engineering and drilling design works to prepare for this next phase of our field programs. Critical technical data gained from the ongoing flow testing of our vertical Carpentaria-1 will soon be analysed to assess gas composition (dry gas vs liquid hydrocarbons) and zonal contribution (i.e. how each of the four zones we have fracture stimulated in the Middle Velkerri shale is contributing to total production). This data will inform our approach to drilling the horizontal well in Q4 2021, particularly which zone to land the horizontal section in, and how to fracture stimulate that well to maximise production."
About the Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program
The Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program ("the Program") was announced by the Australian Government earlier this year as part of its Gas-fired Recovery Strategy.
The Program has been implemented to encourage explorers to accelerate their work programs with a view to accelerating initial commercial production from the Beetaloo Sub-basin. This would increase gas supply for Australian households and businesses.
The Program provides for $50 million of funding towards exploration activity that is carried out by the end of 2022. The maximum amount of grant funding under the Program is $7.5 million per well, capped at 25% of the cost of each well and three wells per venture. Activities that support drilling such as seismic acquisition and flow testing are eligible under the Program.
Empire is the first company to have received approvals for grant funding under the Program.
Australian Federal Minister for Resources and Water, Hon Keith Pitt MP, released a media statement yesterday in relation to the approvals which can be found at Appendix A*.
Relevance to Empire Energy
The grant funding received by Empire will have material positive impacts for Empire including:
- Offsetting 25% of eligible expenditure which may include additional seismic acquisition, the drilling of up to three horizontal wells in 2021 and 2022, the fracture stimulation and completion of those wells, and the flow testing of those wells; and
- The three wells to be drilled using grant funding under the Program may become commercial production wells in future. This is aligned with Empire's rapid commercialisation strategy focused on accessing existing pipeline infrastructure (subject to further NT Government regulatory implementation and award of production licenses).
Empire will update shareholders as the formal documentation of the grants progresses.
On 23 June 2021, the Australian Senate referred an inquiry into oil and gas exploration and production in the Beetaloo Basin to the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee, with the following term of reference: "Oil and gas exploration and production in the Beetaloo Basin, with particular reference to the Industry Research and Development (Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program) Instrument 2021, which provides public money for oil and gas corporations."
*To view figures, please visit:
About Empire Energy Group Ltd
Empire Energy (ASX:EEG) (OTCMKTS:EEGUF) holds over 14.5 million acres of highly prospective exploration tenements in the McArthur and Beetaloo Basins, Northern Territory. Work undertaken by the Company since 2010 demonstrates that the Eastern depositional Trough of the McArthur Basin, of which the Company holds 80% has very considerable conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon potential. The Beetaloo sub-Basin, in which Empire holds a substantial position, has independently assessed world class hydrocarbon volumes in place with a major ramp up in industry activity underway to appraise substantial discoveries already made by major Australian oil and gas operators.
Empire Energy is an experienced conventional oil and gas producer with operations in the Appalachia region (New York and Pennsylvania). Empire has been successfully developing and producing oil and gas since 2006.
Empire Energy Group Ltd