Sydney, Australia-based Empire Energy Group Ltd. said Aug. 11 it has executed a rig services contract with Schlumberger to drill the Carpentaria-1 well in Northern Territory’s onshore Beetaloo Basin.

Plans are for the rig—Schlumberger Land Rig 183—to drill to a depth of about 2,900 m, allowing Empire to evaluate the targeted Velkerri Shale and Kyalla Shale, the company said in a news release.

“The execution of the drilling contract with Schlumberger represents a key milestone as we unlock the world-class potential of our Northern Territory shale oil and gas resource,” Empire Energy Managing Director Alex Underwood said in the release.

Empire said the well’s design allows for future re-entry, fracture stimulation and flow testing, which is set to start following northern Australia’s wet season. The well, the company said, is “the precursor to a planned multi-staged fracture stimulated and tested horizontal section which may be drilled from the same wellbore.”

Initial work is scheduled to begin around Aug. 17 with the well spud in mid-September.

Underwood said Empire will be the second company—following Origin Energy—to drill a well in the basin since a moratorium was lifted in 2019.