Apache says finds potential new oil province off Australia

A rig contracted by Apache Corp drills a horizontal well in a search for oil and natural gas in the Wolfcamp shale located in the Permian Basin in West Texas in Oct 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A rig contracted by Apache Corp drills a horizontal well in a search for oil and natural gas in the Wolfcamp shale located in the Permian Basin in West Texas in Oct 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Apache Corp said on Monday it had made an oil discovery off the coast of Western Australia, pointing to possibly as much as 300 million barrels of oil in place in what could be a commercially viable new oil province.

It said drilling at the Phoenix South-1 well in the Canning Basin had found at least four separate oil columns, with light oil samples taken.

"Although evaluation is at an early stage, Phoenix South-1 is an exciting result," Apache's international chief operating officer, Thomas Voytovich, said in a statement.

"If these results are borne out by further appraisal drilling, Phoenix South may represent a new oil province for Australia," he said.

United States-based Apache Corp, which is currently considering selling its Australian assets, said it would continue to evaluate the area with its partners Carnarvon Petroleum, Finder Exploration and JX Nippon.