The Australian Government will fund $19.4 million to Empire Energy to accelerate exploration and drilling in the Betaloo Sub-basin.
Empire Energy said all work program approvals required for the activities were already in place and the government grants would offset 25% of the cost of seismic acquisition and the drilling, fracture stimulation and flow testing of three horizontal appraisal wells in its 100% owned EP187 tenement, located in the Northern Territory.
The new grant agreements replace previous grant agreements which became void as a result of a decision of the Federal Court of Australia which found, inter alia, that the instrument under which the Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program was formed and the decision to approve funding to Imperial were valid.
Empire said the grant agreements are on materially similar terms to those entered into previously and reported to shareholders on 10 September 2021. Activities already carried out by Imperial in EP187 in accordance with the original approval decision including the Charlotte 2D seismic survey and the drilling of Carpentaria-2H, which are eligible for grant funding in accordance with the approval decision.
The first grant will cover 25% of the cost of Charlotte 2D seismic acquisition encompassing the drilling, fracture stimulation and flow testing of the Carpentaria-2H horizontal appraisal well (excluding the cost of the first 12 fracture stimulation stages and associated cost of horizontal section drilling1). The funds will also assist well design, fracture stimulation design, procurement, consumables, access track construction, well pad construction, evaporation pond construction, rig mobilisation and fracture stimulation spread mobilisation (collectively “associated activities”), capped at a total grant amount of $6.5 million.
The second grant will cover 25% of the cost of drilling, fracture stimulation and flow testing of the Carpentaria-3 horizontal appraisal well and associated activities, capped at a total grant amount of $6.8 million.
Grant three covers 25% of the cost of drilling, fracture stimulation and flow testing of the Carpentaria-4 horizontal appraisal well and associated activities, capped at a total grant amount of $6.0 million.
Empire aspires, subject to appraisal success and the future award of production licenses, that these wells will become future production wells to realise the company’s rapid commercialisation strategy.