Calgary-headquartered Touchstone Exploration Inc. said Oct. 14 it has made a significant natural gas discovery at the Chinook-1 well on the Ortoire exploration block in Trinidad and Tobago.

Drilled to a total depth of 10,039 ft by Well Services Petroleum Ltd. Rig #80 to test a formation south of the Cascadura gas discovery, the well hit a total of about 589 net ft of pay in three unique thrust sheets in the Herrera Sands, Touchstone said in a news release. Another 20 ft was hit in the shallower Cruse Formation at depths between 2,996 ft and 3,021 ft.

The well was spud on Aug. 13.

Touchstone CEO Paul R. Baay said the results exceeded pre-drill expectations.

“With both the shallow and deepest zones being new to the area, it also identified future exploration opportunities,” Baay said in the release. “The company’s focus is now on the drilling of the Cascadura Deep exploration well, which will impact the timing of Chinook-1 production testing operations to ensure the safety of operations.”

The well is one of the deepest drilled onshore Trinidad in nearly a decade, according to Touchstone COO James Shipka.

“For Chinook-1, we employed a synthetic oil-based mud system that assisted in drilling while reducing formation damage and incorporated a top drive onto the drilling rig to aid in drilling to greater depths,” Shipka added. “We intend to replicate these drilling practices moving forward given Chinook-1 demonstrated our ability to successfully conduct complex operations in a safe manner while strictly adhering to restrictions imposed during the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic.”

The company said it plans to begin completion and testing to evaluate the economic potential of the hydrocarbon sands in first-quarter 2021.