Ironbark: acreage WA-359-P

About Ironbark

As part of a joint venture between BP (42.5%), Cue (21.5%), Beach(21%) and NZOG (15%), BP will be leading a small scale geophysical and geotechnical survey in the Carnarvon Basin. This activity will only take place in Commonwealth waters and will be regulated by the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act and the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Environment) Regulation 2012. In accordance with the legislation, an environment plan is being developed for the small-scale survey and will be submitted to the Commonwealth regulator, National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), prior to conducting the activity. As part of this process, we are consulting with relevant stakeholders to determine impacts and risks that may be of interest.

This section of the website contains details of the planned activity, background on the participants in the activity and contact details for further discussion or requests for information. Please email any additional questions or information requests to Tzila Katzel at

Exploration drilling consultation

As part of BP’s public consultation process, you can read an overview of BP’s proposed activity in the Carnarvon Basin, Western Australia. 

For updates on any future developments, please register your details online. Your information may be included in BP’s environmental plan consultation documentation, which will be submitted to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority and be viewable by the public.

For specific enquiries, please contact:
Tzila Katzel
Director Policy, Environmental and Community Affairs

About BP

On the 26 October 2018 Cue Energy Resources Limited (Cue) announced that its 100% subsidiary Cue Exploration Pty Ltd, has executed an agreement (Coordination Agreement) with BP Developments Australia Pty Ltd (BP), Beach Energy Limited (Beach) and New Zealand Oil & Gas where each of Cue, BP, Beach and New Zealand Gas have agreed, subject to certain conditions being satisfied to form a joint venture to drill the Ironbark – 1 exploration well in WA-359-P. The Co-ordination Agreement sets out the activities that Cue, BP, Beach and New Zealand Oil & Gas have agreed to fund and undertake and will allow BP to commence work on the Ironbark-1 exploration well prior to the official title transfers and creation of a formal joint venture. 
Title transfer and joint venture formation is targeted for during Q2 2019, once certain conditions, including regulatory approvals, are received. Until this time, Cue will retain 100% equity in WA-359-P and BP will act as operator on behalf of Cue in relation to planning for Ironbark-1 well.

At BP we aspire to no accidents, not harm to people and no damage to the environment. To deliver this we carefully plan our operations, identifying potential hazards and managing risks at every stage.

People, and how they interact with equipment, processes and each other, are fundamental to a safe working environment. We have introduced techniques for teams to analyse and redesign tasks to reduce the chance of mistakes occurring. More than half of the hours worked by BP are carried out by contractors. Their skills and performance are vital to our ability to carry out our work safely and responsibly. Our standard model contracts include health, safety and security requirements. Through bridging documents, we define how our safety management system co-exists with those of our contractors to manage risk on a site. Our goal of achieving no damage to the environment guides our actions.

We work hard to avoid, mitigate and manage our environmental and social impacts over the life of our operations. How our businesses around the world understand and manage their environmental and social impacts is set out in our operating management system – which underscores the importance of consulting with stakeholders who may be affected by our activities.

For more information visit the sustainability section of our website.

Planned activities in the Carnarvon Basin

BP is planning a small scale geotechnical and geophysical survey as an initial activity to support the investigation of the Ironbark exploration prospect, a potential gas/condensate field in Block WA-359-P.  Figure 1.2 below provides the location of the WA-259-P and the Operational Area for the survey. The operational area is defined as the Ironbark Site Survey Area a 4km by 4km area plus 500m buffer for vessel manoeuvring.






19° 08’ 12.28” S
19° 08’ 13.14” S
19° 10’ 54.90” S
19° 10’ 55.77” S


116° 03’ 10.68” E
116° 06’ 01.82” E
116° 03’ 09.75” E
116° 06’ 00.94” E

Purpose of the survey

The small scale geotechnical and geophysical survey is a pre-drilling survey and aims to confirm that a future well location is positioned on flat seabed, in an area free of seabed debris and shallow gas pockets. Several other geohazards and man-made seafloor hazards may be identified during the survey.


Activities will be:
  • geophysical acquisition (multibeam, side-scan sonar, sub-bottom profiler, magnetometer, high resolution reflection imaging)
  • geotechnical sampling (piston or gravity coring and box core sampling)
  • vessel and support (AUV, helicopter) operations

Duration of the activity

The activity is scheduled to take place in July 2019. The acquisition of the survey data is scheduled to be completed within two to four days.

Regulatory framework

Prior to any petroleum related activities in Commonwealth waters commencing, an environmen plan must be accepted by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA).

An environment plan for the small scale geotechnical and geophysical survey is due to be submitted by the end of March 2019.

Summaries of accepted environment plans are published on the NOPSEMA website.