Offshore appraisal well

The CarbonNet Project successfully completed drilling an offshore appraisal well (OAW) on 24 January 2020 at the Pelican site in Bass Strait.

The aim of the drilling program was to confirm that identified rock structures deep under the seabed can permanently store carbon dioxide (CO2), thereby validating previous data collected by the CarbonNet project. An extensive dataset was successfully acquired during the operation, including geological formation rock, fluid samples and high-quality wireline formation logs.

Over the next 6-12 months the rock samples will be analysed in laboratories to confirm their detailed composition, physical properties including porosity, permeability and their strength and chemical resistance to CO2. Along with the data acquired from the 2018 marine seismic survey, the well data will be used to model and assess the suitability of the site for long-term storage of CO2.

The Environment Plan for this activity was approved by the regulator, National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), in April 2019. To view the Environment Plan Summary, visit  NOPSEMA.

The CarbonNet project has reached an important milestone with our drilling rig, the Noble Tom Prosser, having arrived in Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay on 27 November onboard the OHT Osprey (heavy lift vessel).

Our video shows the drilling rig being 'floated off' from the Osprey, prior to being  towed out of the Bay towards its final destination - CarbonNet's Pelican site in Bass Strait (arrived 1 December).


The Noble Tom Prosser, a large jack-up rig, was positioned approximately eight kilometres offshore from the Ninety Mile Beach. The rig drilled to a depth of about 1.5km below the seabed.

A 500m radius safety exclusion zone was in place around the drilling rig for the duration of operations.

The activity was managed by AGR (Australia) Pty Ltd as the Drilling Management Contractor for CarbonNet.

Diagram of a typical offshore jack-up drilling rig. The total depth of the appraisal well is 1,500 metres.


The OAW location is the Pelican site, approximately eight kilometres offshore from the Ninety Mile Beach as shown on the map below.

CarbonNet's Offshore Appraisal Well near Golden Beach and Paradise Beach, approximately 8 km offshore in Commonwealth waters


Drilling operations took approximately 55 days to complete over December 2019 and January 2020.

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Page last updated: 30 Sep 2020