ORIGIN Energy has secured Seadrill Australia’s West Telesto drilling rig for work on the Yolla gas field in the Bass Strait.

The rig has been contracted to drill the Yolla 5 and Yolla 6 wells in late 2014 or early 2015 as part of the second stage of the Yolla Mid Life Enhancement Project at a cost of $213 million, according to project partner AWE Limited.

Origin said the drilling of the wells, along with the installation of associated f low lines and other works, will support the maintenance of gas production from the Yolla field.

The West Telesto is a three-leg, jack-up, cantilever drilling rig similar in specification to the rig that successfully drilled the Yolla-3 and Yolla 4 wells on the field in 2004.

AWE said the new wells would underpin production from the field into the next decade, with managing director Bruce Clement adding that securing a suitable rig for the next phase had been a key objective of the joint venture.

“The gas sales contract for BassGas will end in 2018 (at current production rates) at which time AWE will sell the significant remaining gas production into the expected stronger east coast gas market,” he said.

AWE said rig sharing agreements may offset mobilisation and demobilisation costs.

The joint venture was also progressing work on the final stage of the BassGas Mid Life Enhancement (MLE) project, incorporating the installation of gas compression and condensate pumping modules, which will be completed subsequent to the development drilling.

“The addition of two more production wells, and the planned installation of gas compression and condensate pumping modules, will allow the joint venture to exploit the full potential of the Yolla field,” Mr Clement said.

“It also sets up longer-term growth options in the Bass Basin, including Trefoil, for future development,” he added.

Origin is operator of the BassGas project with a 42.5 per cent stake, while AWE currently holds 46.25%, with its previously announced sale of an 11.25% stake to Prize Petroleum to take place in mid 2014. Toyota Tsusho Gas E&P Trefoil holds the remaining 11.25%.