TRANSERV Energy will move ahead with the next phase of drilling at the Warro gas fields in the Perth basin after the program received the tick of approval from joint venture partner Alcoa.

While the timing for drilling is dependent on the availability of drilling equipment and various government approvals previously announced, the JV is well advanced in its planning activities and has already lodged the environmental plan for the operations.

Transerv, the operator of the Warro JV, is expecting the next round of drilling operations during the first half of 2015.

The drilling phase will comprise the drilling of Warro-5 and Warro-6, including extended well testing.

The program is being funded by Alcoa as part of an existing farm-in arrangement whereby Aloca can earn up to a 65 per cent interest in the gas field through expenditure pf up to a $100 million facility.

Transerv chairman Craig Burton welcomed Alcoa’s decision to push ahead with the next phase of the program.

“Alcoa’s decision to proceed with the Warro project is excellent news and we are pleased to see this vote of confidence in the project,” he said.

“The decision comes after a lot of painstaking work by the Warro joint venture, work that has not only reviewed the previous well results but also identified the optimum locations to drill the next appraisal wells.”

The next phase of drilling and testing aims to prove the commercial viability of a gas field in the region with a capacity of 3 trillion cubic feet of gas.

The Warro gas field, located in EP321 and 407, lies 200 kilometres north of Perth and is one of the largest undeveloped onshore gas fields in Australia.

The field covers about 7,000 hectares. Transerv said both EP321 and EP407 were in the process of being renewed and/or partially converted to retention leases over the Warro gas field area.

Transerv holds a 57% interest while Alcoa has a 43% stake.