Beach Energy (Beach) is currently undertaking a gas exploration campaign in the North Perth Basin, around 40 kilometres southeast of Dongara.
The campaign includes a multi-well drilling program and a seismic survey that will help us safely identify natural conventional gas resources within our existing exploration permits and production licences. We currently have exploration permits in the Shires of:
- Three Springs,
- Carnamah, and
The Perth Basin is a deep linear trough of sedimentary rocks extending north to south for about 1300km along the southwestern margin of Western Australia. It runs from south of Perth to its northern tip offshore from Carnarvon.
It is a large structurally complex basin, approximately 174,000km2 and was formed during the separation of Australia and Greater India millions of years ago.
Beach’s Perth Basin operations consist of the onshore Beharra Springs Joint Venture (operated by Beach) and Waitsia Joint Venture (operated by Mitsui E&P Australia (MEPAU).
Beach is working with its joint venture partner MEPAU to fully maximise the potential of the Waitsia gas field. It is ranked as one of the largest gas fields ever discovered onshore in Australia.
Waitsia Stage 2 involves further development of the Waitsia gas field, with more wells and a new gas plant, which is currently being built.
When complete (targeting mid-2024), it will be capable of producing 250 TJ/day. To give some scale, 250TJ/day would be equivalent to meeting the energy needs of 1.4 million homes.
Waitsia Stage 2 is a key component of Beach’s growth.
Significant economic benefits flow to the Midwest region from the financial investments being made during both construction and operating phases.
In addition to domestic supply commitments, LNG will be exported from Waitsia Stage 2 through the North West Shelf via the Dampier-Bunbury pipeline.
Beach’s exploration activities are subject to both Commonwealth and Western Australian legislation including the following:
- Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
- Petroleum and Geothermal Resources Act 1967
- Environmental Protection Act 1986
Before undertaking any activities, Environmental Management Plans are required to be approved. Environmental Management Plans:
- describe the proposed activities,
- the environment in which it is to occur,
- identify the potential impacts and risks associated with the activity, and
- measures to ensure that these impacts and risks are managed.
The Environmental Management Plan is also required to demonstrate that there has been effective consultation with relevant persons or organisations.
Perth Basin Map
Under our permits with the Western Australian Government, and pursuant to the Environmental Management Plans, Beach plan to look for conventional natural gas using seismic techniques. Seismic surveys help us identify gas reserves and safely and accurately plan future drilling activities.
Donkey Creek 3D Seismic Survey
Approximately 460km² of land was to be surveyed commencing in early 2024. This is now on hold while current drilling is competed and analysed.
Skipper 3D Seismic Survey
Approximately 500km² of land is to be surveyed in 2025. Final timing for the Skipper 3D Survey is subject to all approvals, weather windows, cropping schedules and availability of contractors. The approximate survey duration is between 30 and 90 days from commencement to completion.
As of 1 November 2023, Beach had drilled three exploration wells as part of the current drilling campaign:
This well was the first to be drilled in April 2023. The field was assessed as not commercially viable. The Trigg 1 site is now being rehabilitated.
Trigg Northwest 1 (NW1)
Trigg Northwest 1 was completed in August 2023 and gas was discovered. Testing will be carried out in 2024.
Tarantula Deep 1
Tarantula Deep 1 was drilled in October 2023 and gas was discovered. Testing will also be carried out in 2024. Other wells will be completed subject to the necessary approvals. Beach will continue to update our stakeholders and the broader community on our activities in the region.
Every Spring, Beach undertakes an environmental survey in the Perth Basin relating to flora and fauna in areas where we operate. The data collected is used to inform our operational plans, ensuring that potential impacts to areas of environmental sensitivity are minimised.
Over the past two years, some interesting discoveries have been made:
In a Beach first, new aerial imagery using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology was used to assist in identifying potential nesting mounds of the vulnerable Mallee fowl bird.
This was part of environmental surveys undertaken which covers 480km2 and sits over the Beharra Springs Facility in EP320, L22 and L11.
After the data was assessed, it identified 12 potential nesting mounds. Five of them were confirmed as active and maintained by a male Mallee fowl for nesting. As a result of this survey, a number of sensitive locations will be avoided and removed from the survey area by the seismic team to prevent potential impacts.
Carnaby's Black Cockatoo
Ecologists also assessed the suitability of tree hollows for the endangered Carnaby's Black Cockatoo.
Beach is conducting targeted fauna surveys for Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo, which will include an assessment of potential foraging, roosting, and breeding habitat.
Western Ground Parrot
The ‘Critically Endangered’ Western Ground Parrot or Kyloring is a relatively small and elusive parrot and is restricted to coastal heathland in southern Western Australia.
Beach is currently undertaking a targeted fauna survey for the Western Ground Parrot using automated recording units (ARUs). An ARU is a self-contained audio recording device that is deployed in the environment to track the behaviour of animals and monitor their ecosystems.
Onshore, the ARU can detect noises coming from bird habitats and determine relative emotions that each bird conveys along with the population of the birds and the relative vulnerability of the ecosystem.
These surveys continue to be vital in achieving environmental approvals as well as ensuring we can minimise our environmental impact.