Trio of exploration wells planned for historic East Timor campaign
Australian firm Timor Resources will drill three onshore exploration wells in East Timor as the country hopes for commercial success. The three wells will be drilled as part of a consecutive campaign that began at the end of October.
Timor Resources recently drilled the first onshore well in East Timor, also known as Timor Leste, in over 50 years. “Geopolitical issues and civil unrest have hampered exploration activity so far,” Suellen Osborne, managing director of Timor Resources, part of the diversified manufacturing and engineering company Nepean Group, told Energy Voice. .
“The first well is called Karau (the government of Timor-Leste calls it Feto Kmaus) and was drilled on October 27, 2021. The total expected depth is 1050 m. It will take 17 days to drill. The results of the drilling will be known quickly, ”said Osborne.
Timor Resources was awarded a production sharing contract (PSC) by the East Timorese regulator ANPM in June 2017. The company operates the PSC on behalf of its joint venture partner TimorGap, the country’s national oil company. They carried out two seismic surveys on the surface in 2018 and 2019.
“The drilling is a very exciting time for the nation as there are high expectations that it will be a successful campaign,” Osborne added.
“The prospectivity of East Timor on land has long been discussed but has not been explored. The last well drilled in the country was in 1972, and it was a discovery in that area, ”said Osborne.
Historically, four wells have been drilled in the TL-OT-17-08 contract area. “From 1969 to 1972 there were oil discoveries, but they were drilled without seismic. They were drilled based on surface seepage and not on structure, ”she added.
The Karau exploration well has a 26% chance of geological success, according to Timor Resources. The drilling is carried out after the end of a 2D seismic campaign in 2019.
Characteristics of Karau
The Karau prospect is located to the south – central part of the contract area, in PSC TL-OT-17-08 near Suai Township. The main target is a Viqueque stratigraphic pinch edge south of the Matai anticline. At the crest of the anticline Matai the Viqueque is absent or thin and discontinuous. On the side of the anticline the sands and conglomerates thicken and become more continuous. Below the Pinchout are structural closures within the underlying Viqueque.
The Pinchout has an upper and lower section with upper, middle and base mismatches. The lower interval plunges more sharply than the upper interval. The projection of the base-to-surface nonconformity largely coincides with the location of the oil seeps.
Bula’s analogue field at Seram has produced more than 20 million barrels of oil, but modern drilling technology and underground delineation will significantly reduce the number of wells required compared to Bula, Timor Resources said.
Target in Karau
The main target of the reservoir is a pinch at the edge of a sub-basin of turbiditic sandstones and conglomerates in the Pliocene Viqueque succession. Numerous shallow pits and cores encountered oil-saturated sand.
Viqueque’s secondary targets can be found under the Pinchout; the structural ridges of the Upper and Lower Viqueque channels lie to the east and the well intersection is weak in the event of potential closure. The evaluation of the stratigraphy, the quality of the reservoir, the indication of the migration and the pressure gradient justifies the deepening of these targets.
Key observations from Karau
Oil seeps and well recoveries in the Matai region indicate an active petroleum system. More than 10,000 barrels of oil have been recovered from wells in this region.
Analysis of the petroleum indicates that the migration most likely originated from a source in the Middle-Late Triassic.
Operator confidence comes from the correlation between the seismic character and the amplitude of the Viqueque sands and well logs reduce the risks of the reservoir, with multiple high amplitude reflectors in the pinchout.
Timor Resources expects to find recoverable oil over 31 million barrels in the Karau field.
The second and third wells will be drilled in a consecutive campaign, with the second well starting Nov. 21 and the third to be drilled in the first week of February 2022, Osborne said. These exploration wells target different types of geological games.
“Regardless of the success or failure of the first two wells, Timor Resources is committed to
himself to complete the three wells. These wells will satisfy the full PSC obligation and result in the depletion of the TimorGap field. TimorGap will be obligated to contribute capital for all other parts of the exploration program at the end of the three-well drilling campaign, ”she told Energy Voice.
Any significant oil discovery would be a welcome boon to East Timor, which has been heavily dependent on oil and gas revenues. But production from its only producer Bayu Undan field is in decline and operator Santos plans to close the field within a few years.
Significantly, there is a long way to go before a discovery and potential for commercial production is proven ashore in East Timor, if ever.
But if Timor Resources can find and commercially produce 31 million barrels of oil from the Karau field, that would generate a total turnover of $ 1.86 billion based on an average oil price of $ 60. the barrel. However, this is before development and production costs are deducted.
Under the production sharing contract (PSC), Timor Resources will recover its costs first. Then, once government royalties, taxes and operating costs are paid on any potential oil production, the remaining oil profit will be shared 50/50 with TimorGAP.