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Santos, and its partner Carnarvon Energy, have accepted a production licence offer covering the Dorado oil field in the Bedout Subbasin in Commonwealth waters, about 150km north of Port Hedland.

Minister for Resources and Water, Keith Pitt, welcomed this significant step towards the development of the major new oil project off Western Australia.

“At a time when Australia needs energy security more than ever, it’s great to see a new Australian oil project, discovered by Australian companies Santos and Carnarvon Energy, moving closer to being production ready,” Mr Pitt said.

“The original Dorado-1 discovery made in 2018 represented the most significant new oil play offshore Western Australia in the last decade and opened up the Bedout and Beagle subbasins as a major new oil and gas province for Australia.”

This was followed up in February 2022 by the successful Pavo-1 exploration well, drilled 46km east of the Dorado field. 

With that success and now the acceptance of the production licence offer, the Dorado project is moving towards a final investment decision and production. Initially the project will concentrate on oil production and reinjection of the associated gas. 

Later production will recover natural gas for use in Western Australia. Dorado is a low emissions intensity development.

Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Gallagher, said the production licence was an important step on the path towards a final investment decision on the Dorado project.

“The production licence builds on recent momentum for the Dorado project following the significant Pavo-1 discovery last month that has the potential to add further material value to the development,” Mr Gallagher said. 

“Global oil and gas markets are seeing increased volatility and western countries are looking to diversify their supply sources away from Russia which, according to the International Energy Agency, currently produces 18 per cent of the world’s gas and 12 per cent of its oil. 

“In this environment, Dorado and Pavo have the potential to bolster Australia’s national energy security while Australian LNG projects help to meet the energy needs of our allies.”

Mr Pitt said given current uncertainty around the world, Australia must maintain its focus on developing its traditional oil and gas along with new energy metals and materials.

“There is no doubt Australia needs new oil projects if we are to maintain our energy security and ensure our long-term national security. These projects bring new jobs and new investment into our oil and gas sector,” Mr Pitt said.

“Australia’s security and that of our friends, allies and trading partners will be founded on our ability to continue to attract new energy and resources investment, and our success in bringing on new projects like Dorado.”

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