Offshore appraisal well

The CarbonNet Project is planning for its next field activity, the drilling of an offshore appraisal well (OAW) at the Pelican site in Commonwealth waters in late 2019/early 2020.

Appraisal wells have been drilled by the oil and gas sector in Bass Strait for more than 50 years. They are used to verify the properties of rock layers below the seabed.

Rock samples from CarbonNet’s appraisal well will allow scientists to validate existing geoscience models and to confirm the properties of the rock which will form the barriers to hold the stored carbon dioxide (CO2) in place.

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.


A jack-up rig will drill to a depth of about 1,500m below the sea bed (figure 1). Drilling is expected to take up to 60 days to complete.

The activity is being managed by AGR (Australia) Pty Ltd as the Drilling Management Contractor for CarbonNet. AGR has drilled over 40 offshore wells in Australia.

An Environment Plan is being prepared to address the potential impacts of the OAW and will be submitted to the regulator (National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority) for approval. The disruption and impacts of the OAW are expected to be minimal, temporary and localised.

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


The OAW will be located approximately 8 km offshore in Commonwealth waters. The exact position will be determined once the results of the geophysical and geotechnical investigations are finalised. This is expected by mid-2019.

OAW scheduling and duration is dependent on the timing of regulatory approvals, fair sea state conditions and drilling rig availability.


Drilling is currently planned for late 2019/early 2020. The exact timeframe is yet to be determined.

More information

Contact us

If you have any feedback or questions about the geotechnical and geophysical investigations please contact AGR (Australia) Pty Ltd.

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Page last updated: 13 May 2019