• Carnarvon, Santos spud Apus-1 exploration well
  • Targets 235MMbl of oil and 408Bcf of gas
  • Success will add further to Bedout Sub-basin prospectivity


Carnarvon Energy (ASX:CVN) could not have picked a better time to be drilling oil exploration wells with geopolitical pressures and years of underinvestment ensuring that crude oil prices are likely to stay elevated.

Its latest well, Apus-1, targets a gross mean combined recoverable volume of 235 million barrels of liquids and 408 billion cubic feet of gas in the Caley and Milne Members.

The target reservoirs have already been proven in both the Dorado and recent Pavo discoveries with the Caley having been flow tested at equipment limits of about 11,000 barrels of oil per day.

Despite this, there is no guarantee that they will be productive at this location with Carnarvon ascribing an estimated one-in-four (23%) geological probability of success.

This is lower than the 34% chance it had given Pavo due to the more complex interpreted charge / migration pathways.

Apus-1 is located within WA-437-P, a permit in the Bedout Sub-basin offshore Western Australia that is operated by Santos (ASX:STO) with an 80% stake while Carnarvon holds the remaining 20%.

However, the prospect straddles the boundary between WA-437-P and WA-438-P (Carnarvon 30%), giving the company an average interest of about 25% in Apus.


Growing oil province

A success at Apus will really underscore the Bedout Sub-basin’s status as Australia’s newest oil province.

With Pavo-1 included in the mix, hydrocarbons have already been encountered in nine out of 10 wells drilled within the Sub-basin.

This is an almost unheard of success rate – especially for an offshore basin – and has companies with acreage in the Bedout feeling understandably excited.

One such play is newly-listed Finder Energy (ASX:FDR), whose WA-547-P hosts the same Fluid Escape Features in 3D seismic as those present at Dorado.

Meanwhile, 3D Oil (ASX:TDO) has added that the Pavo-1 discovery has upgraded the prospectivity of its WA-527-P by confirming the presence and effectiveness of Hove Member top/lateral seals that are on the same trend.