Australian oil and gas producer Santos Ltd said yesterday it had made two gas discoveries in the Queensland sector of the Cooper/Eromanga Basins in central Australia.
Santos said the Challum 19 well, 22 kilometres west of the Ballera Gas Centre, had flowed gas at 7.5 million cubic feet a day through a 0.5 inch choke over an interval of 2,339 metres to 2,367 metres. Santos said the discovery was made in a section previously not proven to be prospective.

"This first discovery of gas from pre-permian carbonates opens up a play concept for the Challum field and adjacent areas," the company said. The Raworth 1 well, 55 km east of the Ballera Gas Centre, flowed gas at 5.1 million cubic feet a day over the interval 2,053 metres to 2,065 metres through a 0.5 inch choke.

"Raworth which has proved significant hydrocarbon generation in this lightly explored area has matured additional leads for future drilling," the company said. Santos is operator of both wells. Other shareholders in Challum were Origin Energy, Oil Co of Australia and Exxon Mobil Corp unit Delhi Petroleum. Participants in Raworth were Santos, Origin and Oil Co of Australia.

Meanwhile, Woodside Petroleum Ltd's Cossack Pioneer floating oil production vessel was likely to attempt reconnection offshore Western Australia today, an industry source said yesterday. Cossack Pioneer was producing 138,000 barrels per day before it was disconnected on Tuesday night due to high seas caused by Tropical Cyclone Terri.

"The sea swell is still too high for them to reconnect," a source said late on Thursday, noting that an attempt was expected to be made early this morning. Terri, rated a category two cyclone on a scale where five is the most severe, weakened after crossing onto land on Wednesday and by yesterday morning was downgraded to a tropical low.

Woodside is operator of the Cossack fields and is also an equal one-sixth stakeholder with BHP Ltd, Japan Australia LNG (MiMi) Pty Ltd and local units of BP Amoco, Chevron Corp and Royal Dutch/Shell.