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Todays West Australian - Oilers in Perth Basin

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    Apache continues foray into Perth Basin plays

    By Michael Weir

    THE Perth Basin continues to be re-rated after US independent Apache Energy yesterday grabbed a bigger share of the oil and gas region and several other positive results were released.

    But a subdued day on the market kept a lid on celebrations for the mostly Perth-based juniors exposed to the area.

    In developments yesterday, the Cliff Head field, off the coast of Dongara, was upgraded to a possible 140 million-barrel oil discovery, the onshore Jingemia well appears to be shaping up as a discovery and Apache has farmed into a big area north of Cliff Head.

    Millions of dollars will be pumped into the region in the next 12 months with several wells planned.

    High on the current watchlist is the Morangie-1 well, 230km north-west of Geraldton, which is considered a monster target with the potential for 250 million barrels of oil in place.

    Drilling has started at Morangie and it is expected to reach target depth this week.

    Origin Energy is the operator of Morangie, with a 28.75 per cent stake. The other participants are Apache Energy (28.75 per cent), UK-based Dana Petroleum (29.97 per cent), Perth-based Norwest Energy (7.5 per cent) and Perth-based Voyager Energy (5 per cent).

    The Cliff Head partners said yesterday the field could move to commercial development in 2004-05 if the next multi-well drilling program, due to start in three months, were successful.

    The operator, Roc Oil (30 per cent), said the oil in place estimate had increased to 110 million barrels, from the original estimate of 80 million barrels to 100 million barrels.

    Some of the other participants have independently estimated a level of 140 million barrels.

    The partners have also confirmed 25 to 37 per cent of the estimated in-place reserves are likely to be recovered.

    The other participants at Cliff Head are AWE (27.5 per cent), Wandoo Petroleum Pty Ltd (25 per cent), Arc Energy (7.5 per cent), Voyager (5 per cent) and Norwest Energy (5 per cent).

    At Jingemia the participants reported oil shows and said a drill stem test would be conducted, which would see if the well flows oil.

    Origin is the operator with 49.19 per cent and the other participants are Hardman Resources (22.4 per cent), AWE (15.24 per cent), Victoria Petroleum (5.77 per cent), Voyager Energy (5.77 per cent) and Pancontinental Oil & Gas (1.28 per cent).

    Apache has farmed into two offshore exploration permits with Roc (37.5 per cent), Voyager (15 per cent) and Bounty (10 per cent).

    The US company will earn a 37.5 per cent stake by funding $7.5 million worth of exploration.

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