EXXONMOBIL subsidiary Esso Australia is drilling five new wells at the Turrum field in Bass Strait to develop new gas supplies.
The $335 million investment in drilling follows the start-up of the $4.5 billion Kipper Tuna Turrum project.
First oil from the Turrum field, exported via the new Marlin B platform, was announced in October 2013.
This phase of the Turrum field development involves drilling of four gas wells and one oil well.
Turrum holds an estimated one trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 110 million barrels of oil and gas liquids.
The drilling program is being undertaken from a drilling rig on the Marlin B platform.
ExxonMobil Australia chairman Richard Owen said the drilling program was expected to continue into the second half of 2015.
“ExxonMobil continues to invest in Bass Strait to unlock new resources and maintain gas supplies,” Mr Owen said.
“In order to remain competitive in the region, Australia must pursue policies that continue to promote the development of our natural resources.
“Streamlined regulatory approvals, long-term access to offshore acreage, productivity gains and competitive work practices are all required to create an environment that is conducive to further investment.”
Mr Owen said ExxonMobil continued to utilise advanced technology, along with its extensive, decades-long understanding of the Gippsland Basin, to ensure the full potential of the resource could be realised.
The Esso-BHP Billiton Gippsland Basin joint venture has 50 years of experience in Bass Strait.
Since the first well was drilled in 1965 in Bass Strait, about four billion barrels of crude oil and eight trillion cubic feet of natural gas have been produced.
“The Gippsland Basin Joint Venture currently supplies nearly 40 per cent of east coast Australian domestic gas demand,” Mr Owen said.
“The Turrum field drilling program will help ensure that Bass Strait continues to be at the forefront of the oil and gas story in Australia.”