The eagerly awaited test results from fracking the first new well in the Beetaloo are not as overwhelmingly positive as many expected.
Industry observers have been keenly awaiting Origin Energy's initial test results on its Kyalla 117 well near Daly Waters.
Kyalla 117 was the first well to be drilled after the moratorium was lifted by the NT Government to explore for shale gas in the Beetaloo.
The Federal Government has already pinned its hopes on the Beetaloo living up to its promise of being a world-class onshore gas resource.
Other energy companies are exploring the Beetaloo, but none are as advanced as Origin which produced the first optimistic forecasts in the Beetaloo from its Amungee well in 2016, before the 18-month moratorium was imposed.
"The (Kyalla 117) well was successfully fracture stimulated and flowback operations commenced in early October with enough gas to sustain a flare ...", Origin said in a project update today.
" ... however extended production testing to assess the quality of the resource requires a measurable gas breakthrough to occur."
Origin's general manager for Beetaloo and Growth Assets, Tracey Boyes said, "Well data collected to date is positive with core analysis indicating mature hydrocarbons and good permeability, and mud logs indicating the presence of liquids-rich gas.
"Our analysis of data from current operations is showing greater pressures in the well than in the reservoir, due to the saline content and density of the flowback fluid.
"It is not unusual in shale plays for the salinity and density of the flowback fluid to increase as salt easily migrates from the surrounding formation.
"Our plan is to introduce nitrogen to lift the fluids in the well and lower pressures to assist with achieving a gas breakthrough, which is a common technique we carried out on the successful Amungee well in 2016.
"Work both on and off site will now focus on continuing to flow back the well while planning this additional work, likely to occur in early 2021 following the wet season.
"The option to temporarily shut in the well is being considered as part of this activity," Ms Boyes said.
She said Origin would continue to analyse data from the well to inform future activities as "the joint venture (with Falcon Oil and Gas) continues to work towards achieving a successful outcome for the Kyalla well".
Energy Minister Angus Taylor visited the Beetaloo Basin in late October to build on the Federal Government's gas-fired recovery plan.
He visited the well site of Empire Energy which had excited the share market after it announced a substantial find at its Carpentaria-1 well site about 85km south-west of Borroloola.
"The proportion of liquids-rich gas intersected in the Valkerri (shale) dramatically exceeds that of analogue wells previously drilled across the Beetaloo basin and materially exceeds Empire's pre-drill expectations," Empire Energy said at the time.
But those results were from not from fracking and actual gas flow tests but from the drilling operations and mud logs.
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