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Image courtesy of AWE Limited.

Australia-based AWE Limited said Thursday its onshore Irwin-1 exploration well encountered a gas pay zone in Western Australia’s Perth Basin.

The well has reached a measured depth of 10,711 feet and is drilling ahead in an 8 1/2 inch hole to a planned total depth of 13,333 feet.

Irwin-1 intersected the top of the Dongara Sandstone at 10,321 feet, 134 feet higher than the company’s prognosis.

So far the well has penetrated 393 feet of the primary target formation, the Dongara/Wagina sandstones, with elevated gas shows observed.

The interval will be further evaluated with a wireline logging program after the deeper, secondary objectives have been drilled and the well reaches its planned total depth.

The well, spudded on March 25, is expected to take seven weeks to complete.

The company said it may undertake a flow test of the Irwin-1 well to better establish the commercial potential of the reservoir.

Irwin-1 is designed to test the gas potential to the east of the Senecio and Waitsia gas fields and has multiple reservoir objectives in the Dongara and Wagina tight sandstone formations, the Carynginia Shale and Irwin River Coal Measures along with the deeper Kingia and High Cliff Sandstones.

The Irwin prospect straddles permit EP320, where AWE holds a 33 percent interest, and permit L1, where AWE holds a 50 percent operating interest.

AWE operates the Irwin-1 drilling program under an agency agreement with joint venture partner Australia-based Origin Energy Limited.

“We are drilling ahead and plan to intersect the deeper, secondary formations before undertaking a wireline logging program and evaluating the reservoir potential of the Irwin prospect,” AWE managing director Bruce Clement said

Irwin- 1 is the first well of a three well drilling program planned for the Perth Basin in 2015.

It will be followed by the Waitsia-1 and Waitsia-2 appraisal wells on the newly discovered Waitsia gas field.