With the oil and gas industry undergoing a rapid evolution, Ian Meynink, Chief Development Officer of Westside Corporation, speaks to us about the ways in which the company is leading the way for the future of energy production.
POWERING THE FUTURE OF ENERGY
As a small, privately owned oil and gas company with operations across Queensland, Australia, and New Zealand, Westside Corporation (Westside) has been leading the way in the energy industry for nearly two decades.
The company’s vision is to pave the way for Australia’s oil and gas industry through safety, people, performance, and cost.
Westside intends to do so through: adding value by having a results-driven, innovative, and agile mindset; being valued by holding each other accountable, and working as a team; and valuing others by showing respect for all stakeholders, along with being honest and ethical.
“Westside is a very innovative company that has historically driven optimisation and improvements in a number of areas,” opens Ian Meynink, Chief Development Officer of Westside.
Having been in the oil and gas industry for over 20 years, Meynink has brought a wealth of experience in subsurface, reserves and resources, field development, and, most importantly, passion to the team at Westside.
“As an engineer, I have always thought of the energy industry as not only vital to the well-being of all Australians, but also one that is incredibly interesting and dynamic,” he elaborates.
“Living and working in Australia, I believe that we are very lucky to have so many resources and large-scale projects available for us to be involved in.”
Since its inception, Westside has placed a strong focus on growing production and reserves and improving drilling and connection efficiencies in its strategically located acreage in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.
The company’s primary asset is the Meridian coal seam gas (CSG) field in Central Queensland, near the town of Moura, which is currently producing 40 terajoules per day (TJ/d) of gas.
With 80 employees along with local contractors across Westside’s various operations, the company provides gas to the domestic market through gas sales agreements (GSAs) with CleanCo, Alinta, and QNP, as well as to Gladstone LNG (GLNG), a major gas customer within the field.
A SHIFTING INDUSTRY
“Right now, the energy industry is an extremely exciting place to work in, particularly at this point in time with the push towards a lower carbon footprint,” incites Meynink.
“Whilst the oil and gas industry has admittedly had a bit of an image problem off the back of poor public perception towards fossil fuels, gas specifically is key in the transition to net zero,” he continues.
With the current high demand for gas in Australia and around the world, the industry is more important than ever.
Recently, it has been a challenge to attract investment in new oil and gas projects, but with a more stable government policy framework and a lack of proven reliable energy alternatives, such projects are important to protect and progress, and Westside is working diligently to do so.
In addition to the Meridian field, Westside has oil and gas assets in the Rimu, Kauri, and Manutahi fields in Southern Taranaki, New Zealand, as well as an exploration permit in the Taroom Trough with Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) as its joint venture (JV) partner.
Such JV partners are critical to the success of any business, and Westside is extremely cognisant of these vital relationships and how they ultimately allow for continuous growth and innovation.
The company likewise holds an equally close technical and commercial relationship with Mitsui, a 49 percent JV partner in the Westside-operated Meridian CSG asset who has been working with the company for over a decade.
“Mitsui has been a key member of the Meridian field, having been involved since its inception, and is still a JV partner in the adjacent Dawson coal mine,” notes Meynink.
With these relationships built on a foundation of trust and reliability, Westside has been able to achieve milestones, including drilling improvements compared to 2016, where the time spent on each lateral well dramatically reduced from 18 days to just under 10, whilst the cost of each lateral well has reduced by over 30 percent.
Currently, the company is drilling lateral wells in the Meridian field with two rigs and is planning to drill 100 kilometres (km) of reservoir coal for the calendar year.
THREE PILLARS OF SUSTAINABILITY
With the cultural mindset shifting towards long-term sustainability and environmental awareness, Westside is committed to having a positive impact in all areas in which the company operates.
The three pillars Westside has ingrained into its culture are that of people, environmental impact, and community.
“We take our corporate responsibilities very seriously, particularly in relation to the small communities in which we operate,” enthuses Meynink.
Actively participating in local communities, Westside works closely with traditional owners and landholders to ensure ongoing communication and consultation in all areas of operation.
For example, within the company’s petroleum leases in the Meridian field, it has entered into voluntary cultural heritage investigation and management agreements with the traditional owners, which formalise the company’s continuous dedication to protecting and managing cultural heritage within its tenements.
Additionally, Westside’s goal has always been to work constructively and proactively to minimise any impact on local livelihoods and lifestyles.
Equally important are the people within the business who work diligently on a daily basis to ensure success, and Westside readily recognises this.
“The people, partners, and suppliers are what make Westside such a wonderful place to work. They are key to our success and what really drive the company forward,” comments Meynink.
“We are nothing without our people. We pride ourselves on being a very innovative company, look to work with like-minded businesses, and seek driven staff to come onboard,” he continues.
With such a talented, vibrant, and diverse workforce, the company is able to offer a team of highly skilled individuals across a range of technical disciplines and support services in the oil and gas industry, while also using specialist and highly competent contractors to support the business in key areas.
Ultimately, Westside takes its corporate social responsibilities to heart and is steadfastly committed to ensuring that it works together with the local community and minimises any negative environmental impact.
AN ELECTRIFYING FUTURE
As a number of the initial Queensland CSG fields begins to decline, there is pressure to maintain, or even increase, gas production to both the domestic and global markets.
“This will be a considerable challenge for the industry. Our vision is to cultivate bespoke ways to make the most of each resource opportunity in order to meet this demand. A very important key to that success is to have the right people whilst delivering the projects in a safe and sustainable manner,” explains Meynink.
Westside is maintaining that mindset as it looks towards the future with a plethora of innovative projects under its belt.
One such project that boasts enormous potential is the Kauri sandstone oil leg in New Zealand. This oil leg, which is 300 to 400 metres (m) in thickness, extends over both Westside’s onshore production permits and has two to three billion barrels of oil in place.
Additionally, Westside is looking to continue to increase its gas production rates from the Meridian field by drilling in newer areas.
“We will also be progressing the Taroom Trough exploration programme, identifying the best location for the exploration well in 2025, and looking to find a partner to appraise and develop the Kauri oil play,” he expands.
Despite challenges that may have been thrown in the industry’s way, Westside continues to make strides that will allow for the paralleled growth of both oil and gas and sustainability efforts.
“Our goal is to work in harmony with the local communities in which we operate and be the most innovative, low-cost onshore gas developer and operator in Australia and New Zealand whilst maintaining our exemplary safety record,” concludes Meynink.