July 24 (UPI) -- Australian energy company Melbana said surveys have started in the Beehive prospect, one of the largest undrilled prospects in the country.
The country said seismic surveys were under way and on pace for completion by the end of August. Seismic surveys are used to get a better understanding of the reserve potential and Melbana said Tuesday that backers have exercise their rights to drill into Beehive later.
Melbana has a 20 percent of the options in Beehive, alongside Total and Australian energy company Santos.
"The Beehive prospect is potentially the largest undrilled hydrocarbon prospect in Australia," Melbana's statement read.
Melbana stated that Beehive data will provide operators with a better idea of where to tap the first exploration well. The reserve is located near existing oil and gas infrastructure, supporting future value, it said.
The Australian government signed off on the environment permits to survey Beehive in May.
The Beehive prospect may be on par with the Tengiz basin in the Kazakh waters of the Caspian Sea, one of the largest ultra-deep water fields in the world. Combined with nearby developments, Tengiz produced its 2 billionth barrel of oil more than six years ago.
Santos and Total have the option to take an 80 percent participating interest in a permit that Melbana says may be a "multi-billion barrel" prospect.
In June, Australian energy company Woodside handed out a contract to geophysical survey company Ocean Energy to provide data on the deepwater field off the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia. Net reserves in the Scarborough area, which consists of three natural gas fields, are more than 9 trillion cubic feet of dry gas.