Santos accelerates gas development with new rig

Santos has announced it has started operations of a fourth rig in the Cooper Basin.

The rig, Ensign 965, will drill eight wells by the end of this year, as the company continues its drive to produce more Australian natural gas to supply the east coast domestic market.

It will start in the Big Lake field with four deviated wells from a multi-well pad before moving to Moomba South, drilling four appraisal wells there, sustaining Cooper Basin jobs.

The fourth rig means Santos will now be able to drill almost 90 wells in the Cooper Basin this year – more wells drilled in a single year since 2014.

This is on top of the record 300 wells being drilled in Queensland this year with Santos’ GLNG joint venture partners.

“As Santos has become Australia’s lowest cost onshore natural gas developer, reducing development well costs by more than 40 per cent in the Cooper since 2015, we now have the right cost base to invest in making the most of the vast discovered resource base of Cooper Basin natural gas,” Santos managing director and CEO Kevin Gallagher said.

“Santos is breathing new life into the Cooper Basin which has been producing for more than 50 years and 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.

“Drilling more wells and lowering production costs – extracting more gas for less money – is the best way to keep downward pressure on gas prices.”

“As we announced in July in our Second Quarter report, Cooper Basin gas production is up eight per cent compared to the previous quarter due to strong performance from recently connected wells.”

Santos is on track to supply about 70 PJ of gas into the east coast domestic market in 2018, which is almost 13 per cent of expected demand.