SENEX Energy Limited has announced it is preparing to spud the high profile Silver Star-1 gas exploration well in the South Australian Cooper Basin.

With a budget of approximately $15 million, Silver Star-1 forms part of the work program being progressed by Senex in joint venture with Origin Energy.

Senex managing director and CEO Ian Davies said the drilling programme reflected its continued commitment to onshore gas exploration and to building an opportunity pipeline capable of delivering significant gas volumes to market.

“The Silver Star-1 well is an exciting step in the Senex and Origin Energy exploration project agreed in 2014 to unlock material high-risk gas acreage in the South Australian Cooper Basin. The areas on which we are focused have multi-Tcf potential, and gas exploration programs such as this are crucial to unlocking more supply for the east coast market,” Mr Davies said.

Silver Star-1 is located in permit PEL-638 and is the first drilling location in the northern area of Senex’s joint venture with Origin Energy, a staged programme targeting material volumes of basin centred and stratigraphic gas in the Patchawarra and Allunga Troughs. Senex is free carried by Origin under the Senex-Origin farm-in arrangement.

The aggregate project expenditure under the arrangement is up to $252 million, of which $105 million will be deployed on the first stage work programme, including Silver Star-1.

Senex says Silver Star-1 is a high impact gas exploration well located in the northern Cooper Basin and is expected to be drilled to a depth of approximately 3,600 metres, with a potential lateral section of up to 1,500 metres.

The well follows the drilling of Efficient-1 and Ethereal-1 in the southern Cooper Basin, which were both cased and suspended having successfully intersected stratigraphically trapped tight gas in the Permian sandstones. The Ethereal-1 well was fracture stimulated and production tested, with the next step to complete a nitrogen lift test to increase gas production.