Empire Oil & Gas listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1998 and shortly thereafter was granted two petroleum permits in the Perth Basin. These early permits lay just south of Empire’s currently owned EP 389 permit, which takes in the historic Gingin Gasfield. The ensuing years saw Empire build up their portfolio of permits and in more recent times, refine them to cover only the most prospective areas, with the focus now solely on the proven North Perth Basin.
Historic exploration activity commenced in the Perth Basin in 1935, however the first well wasn’t drilled until 1961. The majority of early stage exploration and drilling was performed by WAPET (now Chevron). Exploration concentrated on the North Perth Basin and with improvements in seismic quality, the success rate improved markedly.
Empire made two back-to-back gas and condensate discoveries in its Perth Basin EP 389 joint venture with ERM Power Ltd (ERM) in 2009 and 2011, which were commercialised by building the Red Gully Processing Facility in 2012. Initial production commenced in 2013 with a Gas Sale Agreement put in place for the sale of gas to Alcoa of Australia and condensate sold to the BP Kwinana Refinery.
There have now been numerous discoveries made and commercial fields operated in the Perth Basin by multiple companies. Total reserves produced to date are in excess of 30 mmbbls oil and condensate and 625 Bcf gas from 10 fields, all of which are located in the northern part of the Basin. Major play types include Permian, Triassic and Jurassic anticlines as well as Permian and Triassic tilted fault blocks and stratigraphic traps.There are two pipelines (the Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline and the Parmelia Pipeline) running through the Basin. The Red Gully Processing Facility runs close to this essential infrastructure.
In September 2014, with fresh Board and management, Empire initiated a buy-out of ERM’s share of the EP 389 joint venture to take full ownership of its permits and flagship asset, the Red Gully Processing Facility. Completed in February 2015, the transaction simplified the ownership structure. Empire is now reaping the full financial rewards from the increased production levels since perforating the stronger and more stable Red Gully-1 B sands in July 2014. Regular substantial increases in reserves of the Red Gully-1 B sands are sufficient to cover all contracted gas sales with additional capacity available to supply future contracts.
Current exploration is focussed on material prospects where hydrocarbons have already been discovered and Empire considers there is the highest chance of commercial success.