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2011 drilling program at Arrowsmith-2.
Contributed 2011 drilling program at Arrowsmith-2.

The face of Western Australia’s energy sector may have changed forever, after Mid West gas explorers Norwest Energy and AWE Limited produced oil and gas from a test well south of Dongara.

The find at the Arrowsmith-2 well, could lead to major gas supplies, which industry observers have said could reduce the price of domestic gas and energy bills across the State.

Targeting tight shale gas as part of a five stage testing program, the companies used a mining technique known as fracking to extract oil and gas trapped in rock that lies deep underground.

Norwest Energy chief executive Peter Munachen said the company was “extremely encouraged” by the presence of both oil and gas in the Kockatea Shale, which lies between 2639 and 2681 meters below the surface at Arrowsmith.

“Further work is now required to establish the ultimate potential of this zone and whether there is the possibility to produce oil in commercial quantities along with shale gas,” he said.

“As a proof-of-concept well, Arrowsmith-2 has delivered success in all zones from the bottom of hole up.

“This highlights the success in five out of five zones for Norwest — quite a remarkable achievement in just one well.”

Norwest is operating the Arrowsmith-2 project as part of a joint venture agreement with AWE and India based Bharat PetroResources.

AWE managing director Bruce Clement said his company had now been successful with the hydraulic fracture stimulation of three wells at Arrowsmith-2, Senecio-2 and Woodada Deep-1.

“The tight gas and shale gas testing program has successfully achieved its initial objectives,” he said.

“The most recent result from Arrowsmith-2 highlights the potential for oil and wet gas within the Kockatea Shale in the Perth Basin.

AWE holds a large portfolio of prospective acreage across the Mid West, including substantial existing oil and gas facilities and infrastructure.

Further testing in the region over the months will prove whether the joint venture will have a commercially viable resource and will move into production.