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Northern Territory shale potential ‘very positive’

PetroFrontier drills its first horizontal well in Lower Arthur Creek shale formation

Canadian explorer PetroFrontier has successfully drilled its first horizontal well in the Lower Arthur Creek shale formation, in the southern Georgina basin of Australia’s Northern Territory. The Baldwin-2 well was drilled in EP103 to a total depth of 1,948 metres and remained in the main target zone in the hot-shale formation for 875 metres with positive hydrocarbon indications recorded along the entire length of the horizontal section.

The Toronto-listed explorer said elevated gas readings and evidence of heavier hydrocarbons were also present, with conventional gas-ratio analysis indicating “very wet gas to oil” for most of the well, with occasional definite oil signatures in places.

The hot shale is petroliferous, up to 40 metres thick and extensive in area, said PetroFrontier, adding that it is geologically and mechanically analogous to large unconventional-oil plays in North America, such as the Bakken and Eagle Ford.

"PetroFrontier's long-range exploration planning includes accurately defining the regions of oil and gas maturity within the basin to help target exploration efforts," said PetroFrontier chief executive Paul Bennett. "Within our lands, the full range of hydrocarbon maturation is present and this will allow the flexibility to chase the best economics for the play, whether it is pure oil, or mixtures of oil and gas."

The company said there were “very positive” indications for the ability to fracture stimulate the horizontal well based on a mechanical earth model built following interpretation of the logs acquired in the pilot hole.

PetroFrontier will now suspend the well and move the drilling rig 60 km northwest to the MacIntyre-2 well in EP127, which is scheduled to spud in about three weeks. It plans to fracture and complete the well using multi-stage open-hole techniques, before returning to Baldwin-2 to carry out a similar completion programme.

Estimated total recoverable oil resources are 26.42 billion barrels, on a P50 basis, for its shale permits EP103, EP104, EP127 and EP128. PetroFrontier is one of the first companies to conduct exploration in the southern Georgina basin.

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