AWE Limited has finalised decommissioning and rehabilitation works at its Drover-01 exploration site, in preparation for handing back the site to the landowner for agricultural use.

Decommissioning involves the safe and environmentally sound isolation of the well below ground in addition to surface rehabilitation and restoration works. Typical steps in the process include removing any production tubing, isolating productive formations from other formations by installing cement columns at several intervals, pressure testing of the cement columns, cutting off the well head below ground level, and removing remaining surface equipment and facilities.

All of AWE’s decommissioning and rehabilitation works are approved by the Department of Mines and Petroleum before any work can commence. The DMP then monitors progress and certifies that the work has been completed in accordance with the approved rehabilitation plan.

At the request of the landowner, the Drover-01 well pad area will be returned to its previous arable/grazing use and will also now include a hardstand area suitable for new sheep yards and a shed. The gravel access road and boundary fencing constructed by AWE for the Drover-01 well site will also remain on the property at the request of the landowner.

AWE Regional Manager Western Australia David Guise said the ability to leave behind infrastructure for the benefit of the landowner is an example of the company’s commitment to being a good neighbour and forms an important part of land access and compensation arrangements.

“In addition to the financial arrangements made during land access negotiations with landowners, the ability to leave beneficial infrastructure in place, such as roads, fencing or water bores, for the ongoing benefit of the landowner is a positive example of coexistence,” said Mr Guise.

The mud sumps, used during exploration activities to store drilling muds, were tested and left in place until the water evaporated sufficiently. Once it reached the required consistency, the mud was then removed and transported to an off-site waste treatment facility for remediation. When remediated, it will be used to rehabilitate a former gravel pit within the waste treatment facility area.

AWE also completed soil validation sampling below the mud sump liner confirming there was no contamination of the underlying substrate. Following this process AWE was able to excavate the mud sump, remove the liner and backfill the area with gravel. The liner showed no signs of excessive wear and tear.

The latest groundwater monitoring results were consistent with earlier baseline testing and confirmed the drilling activity at Drover-01 has not altered groundwater quality.

Final site rehabilitation, including topsoil replacement and seeding, will occur shortly. The site will then be officially returned to the landowner.

If you have any queries about the Drover-01 exploration activities or any of our activities in the Mid West, please feel free to contact us at

Rehabilitation at Drover 1 is complete
Liner removed from the mud sump, floor cleaned and independent analysis for approval to backfill received
Clean out and backfill of the Drover-1 mud sump completed

Clean out and backfill of the Drover-01 mud sump completed

The Northern Perth Basin

The northern Perth Basin is a prolific oil and gas producing area covering a large portion of the Mid West region of Western Australia. The town of Dongara, located approximately 360km north of Perth, is the regional economic hub for a number of energy industries.