EMPIRE Oil and Gas says an airborne geophysical survey over three of its Perth basin permits are encouraging for future development drilling.

Structural highs and leads were identified in EP 389, EP 432 and EP 454, Empire said, with the company now planning to acquire infill 2D seismic data to mature the identified leads to prospect status for future drilling.

Conducted by geophysical contractor CGG, the Black Swan Airborne geophysical survey was designed to improve sub-surface imaging across Empire’s permits, aiming to accelerate and enhance exploration of the company’s acreage.

Empire chief executive Ken Aitken said interpretation works on the survey were encouraging, saying it had identified a number of structural high trends which will be the focus of future exploration activity.

“In particular, the prospectivity of some of the identified leads on these structurally high trends has been significantly increased by the recent gas discovery at Red Gully North 1,” he said.

Among these leads were some interpreted in a fairway in the north of EP 389 and EP 440, to the north and west of the Red Gully Production facility.

An infill 2D seismic is required over this permit area to mature the identified leads to prospect status, Empire said in its announcement.

“Survey planning will now commence which, along with environmental approval and land access agreements, may take up to 18 months,” the company said.

“Exploration drilling would be contingent on the results of infill seismic, however, any future discoveries would have tie back potential to the Red Gully North gas plant.”

A large north-south trending structural high had also been identified in the central portion of the EP 432 permit, the company said.

“The area is being evaluated for large potential Permian gas plays in the Irwin River Coal Measures,” Empire said.

“Infill seismic is likely to be acquired in the central area of EP 432 in conjunction with the 2D seismic survey planned for northern EP 389.”

Other 2D seismic surveys were being planned for structural highs and leads identified on the western side of the Yarra Yarra terrace on EP 454 and EP 430.