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Buru in box seat as race for hydrogen, helium heats up

Buru Energy’s hydrogen business 2H Resources is expanding its search for natural gas. Credit: File

Buru Energy’s wholly-owned hydrogen-chasing business 2H Resources has picked up hydrogen and helium-prospective ground in South Australia – right next to the nation’s first discovery well for the natural gas.

The company is now the preferred applicant for seven petroleum and two gas exploration licences in South Australia, with its Western Australian helium and hydrogen hunt expanding into six new “special prospecting authorities with an acreage option” in the Perth Basin.

2H Resources’ initial focus has been in SA, where the company has now been confirmed as the preferred applicant for a 5800-square-kilometre prospective exploration license – known as “Petroleum Exploration License Application (PELA) 763”. It is the company’s seventh license application in the area.

PELA 763 covers the granite and volcanic rocks of the Curnamona Geologic Province, a near-circular 300km-by-300km block of shallow to outcropping basement largely obscured by younger Cambrian to Cenozoic sedimentary fill.

The Curnamona Geologic Province is similar to the rocks that underlie a reservoir drilled last month by ASX-listed Gold Hydrogen at its Ramsay-1 well, which twinned the Ramsay oil bore that was drilled back in 1931 and is now Australia’s first dedicated hydrogen discovery well.

Buru Energy chief executive officer Thomas Nador said: “2H Resources has been an integral adjacency to Buru’s core natural gas development activity leveraging our extensive geological and operational expertise. We are therefore delighted with the success of the adjacent operator in South Australia and the implications that has for our areas. We are also very pleased that the Western Australian Government has reopened the State for Special Prospecting Authority applications that has allowed us to apply for areas that we have identified as having high prospectivity for 2H Resources activity.”

The historic Ramsay bore discovered concentrations of up to 89 per cent hydrogen and Ramsay-1 measured 73.3 per cent hydrogen in mud gas at 240m. It is consistent with the 76 per cent hydrogen measured at the Ramsay bore at the same depth within the highly-fractured, Cambrian-aged Parara Limestone.

In addition to the shallow hydrogen, Ramsay-1 recorded a fluid sample at 892m with 3.6 per cent helium gas, plus nitrogen, in the weathered granite basement. It suggests the basement is generating helium in significant amounts and that the overlying weathered zone may act as a reservoir retaining the helium in commercial concentrations.

Globally. there are projects producing helium at less than 1 per cent due to its high commercial value.

Savvy investors spotted the link between 2H Resources’ recent land grab and Gold Hydrogen’s drill success, sending Buru’s share price from a close of 12 cents on October 31 to an intraday high of 17c the following day, after the latter’s Ramsay-1 announcement. Gold Hydrogen is currently drilling the Ramsay-2 appraisal well, 500m to the west of Ramsay-1 and expects to complete the work by the middle of next month.

2H Resources has also recently applied for the six special prospecting authorities with acreage option under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act in WA.

The authorities allow a company to explore an area without drilling, If the area is determined to be prospective, the company has the exclusive right to apply for petroleum exploration permit or petroleum drilling reservation in the area covered by the relevant authority.

2H has a at 75 per cent equity in four of the authorities in partnership with Gehyra Flux, an Australian-based natural hydrogen explorer with acreage in SA and WA. The land is about 20,000sq km in size and is adjacent to the margins of the Perth Basin, where the company says subsurface conditions are favourable for the generation of helium and associated gases.

The remaining two authorities, wholly-owned by 2H,H, are in WA’s Goldfields region in areas where legacy mineral exploration drilling has returned sniffs of natural gas influx.

The company says all applications have been accepted by the Department of Mines Industry Regulation and Safety and are awaiting assessment. Following completion of the assessment and granting of the authorities, it will have a six-month window to complete a soil gas-sampling program to identify prospective areas and if it wishes, apply for additional permits to mature the area.

So, it appears to be exciting times for Buru as it prepares to appraise its 100 per cent-owned Rafael conventional gas condensate discovery in WA’s Canning Basin. Management says early indications from its newly-acquired 3D seismic survey from Rafael are positive, with significant data quality improvement observed in a 30sq-km early taste test of the dataset around the Rafael-1 well as processing continues.

The company says long-lead drilling items have been ordered ahead of the Rafael-2 appraisal well drilling planned for the second half of next year.

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