Carnarvon Petroleum says it’s made a big oil discovery in its Dorado-1 well drilling campaign, in the offshore Carnarvon Basin area.

Australian investors love news of big resources discoveries, and with oil prices up well over $90 they sent Carnarvon’s share price up 48 per cent on Wednesday morning.

The shares shot up as high as 27c.

The company (ASX:CVN) says it’s found light oil from an “excellent reservoir” in the Caley Member, one of four ‘columns’ the company is appraising, with a net pay thickness — the size of the area containing oil that can be extracted — of 79.6 metres.

They also found evidence of oil in the nearby Baxter Member, but further drilling is yet to be done there.

Carnarvon launched the Dorado-1 drilling operation in early June but flagged in April that it expected to find oil there.

Carnarvon shares over the last six months.

“Dorado-1 is less than 20km from the Roc discovery which flowed 55 mmscf/d [thousand standard cubic feet] and 3000 bbld/day,” it said at the time.

“The Dorado structure at the Caley interval is estimated to contain a gross mean recoverable prospective resource of 545 Bscf of gas and 30 million barrels of associated condensate.”

Typically “reserves” refer to oil or gas discoveries that are commercially recoverable using existing technology, while “resources” are either not yet commercially viable or are mere speculation.

Carnarvon managing director Adrian Cook said the result was significant given the net pay thickness, the quality of the oil and the fact that the reservoir is made up of porous sands, making it easier to retrieve the oil.

“Currently, we estimate the net oil pay is around 80 metres, with more drilling still to come this is very exciting for Carnarvon Petroleum,” he told investors.

“With multiple targets still left, the focus now is to complete the drilling program through the Baxter, Crespin and Milne Members.”

Stockhead is seeking comment from Carnarvon Petroleum.