Australian LNG player Santos added a fourth rig to its Cooper Basin operations as it looks to provide more natural gas to the country’s east coast domestic market.
The Ensign 965 rig will drill eight wells by the end of this year, starting in the Big Lake field with four deviated wells from a multi-well pad, Santos said.
It will then move to Moomba South, drilling four appraisal wells there.
The fourth rig enables Santos to drill almost 90 wells in the Cooper Basin this year, which comes on top of the record 300 wells the company is drilling in Queensland this year with its GLNG joint venture partners.
Santos managing director and CEO Kevin Gallagher noted the development costs have dropped 40 percent in the Cooper basin making this the right time to invest in the natural gas resource base in the basin that has been producing for more than 50 years.
He added that Cooper basin “could still have its best years in front of it as we learn more about new geological plays and as drilling and production technology advances.”
Cooper Basin gas production is up eight percent compared to the previous quarter due to the strong performance from recently connected wells, Gallagher added.
Santos is on track to supply about 70 PJ of gas into the east coast domestic market in 2018, which is almost 13 percent of expected demand.