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ADX Energy to spud Welchau well in eight days

The Alpine fold belt in ADX Energy’s Welchau area. Credit: File.

Perth-based ADX Energy has committed to start drilling its Welchau gas prospect in just eight days as it chases 807 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of gas in Upper Austria.

The company says all regulatory requirements are in place and drilling will take about 39 days, with the well expected to cost about €5.1 million (AU$8.4 million). Joint venture (JV) partner MCF Energy will pay half of the bill to earn a 25 per cent interest in the Welchau Investment Area.

The Welchau-1 well will drill through about 1120m of overburden to intersect the top of the Steinalm naturally-fractured carbonate reservoir. The Molln-1 well, drilled back in 1989, intersected the Steinalm at a down-dip cut point and flowed pipeline-quality gas to surface at 3.5 million standard cubic feet per day.

The official gas column at Molln-1 is about 400m, but it should be noted that downhole reservoir pressure measurements suggest it may be more than double that up to 900m. Molln-1 did not lead to commercialisation of the gas as oil was the focus of exploration efforts in the late 1980s.

Seismic data over the Welchau structure, which is defined in an area where the Steinalm formation has been folded into an anticline or tent-like structure, shows a maximum closure of about 100 square kilometres corresponding to a high-case prospective resource estimate of 1.631 trillion cubic feet (Tcf).

The 807Bcf volume estimate for the Welchau structure is a best technical prospective resource and represents the mid-case estimate, or the P50 resource.

ADX says the well pad is ready to receive the local Austrian-run RED Drilling & Services GmbH E202 rig, which will make the 112km journey from its current worksite to get stuck into the drilling at Welchau. Management says the rig was chosen specifically for the task and has been pre-approved to drill based on the required safety, noise and environmental emission standards.

Management says the drilling contractor has a strong track record with the rig, which successfully drilled its first exploration well in Austria – Anshof-3 – in addition to the follow-up appraisal well, Anshof-2. Both wells went down without any lost time for safety incidents and within budget.

ADX hopes to change the energy game for Austria, which has a heavy reliance on Russian gas imports – even as most European countries cut Russian ties following the Ukraine invasion. So, watch this space for more news as the company’s drilling program rolls out to make its mark.

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