Woodside Petroleum has further expanded its push into Canadian resources, sealing a deal with BP to take a stake in exploration permits off the coast of Nova Scotia with the aim of finding new oil discoveries.
Woodside will take a 20 per cent stake in four blocks covering 14,000 square kilometres in the Scotian Basin, with water depths of up to 3600 metres, it said on Thursday. Exploration wells are expected to be drilled starting in 2017.
Chief executive Peter Coleman has greatly expanded Woodside's exploration interests during the past 18 months, taking the company into a number of new plays including off Ireland, New Zealand and Morocco. Earlier this week he announced a $US3.75-billion (A$4.6 billion) deal for Woodside to buy Apache out of its LNG interests, including its stake in the Kitimat LNG project in western Canada and a 50 per cent stake in a shale gas venture in British Columbia.
Mr Coleman said the farm-in was an opportunity to explore an emerging basin with oil potential for oil.
"This acreage was high graded as part of our disciplined study of the Atlantic margins and it will complement our position in Morocco," Mr Coleman said in the statement.
Woodside didn't disclose the terms of the deal, or say how much it expected to spend on exploration in the new blocks, which BP won in a bid round in late 2012. The permits, in which BP will remain as operator, lie about 300 kilometres off the Nova Scotia coast.
The Australian oil and gas producer already works alongside BP in the proposed Browse floating LNG venture in Western Australia.