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The naming of petroleum wells must conform to the following convention (as agreed by APPEA and Geoscience Australia (formerly BMR) in 1996):

Naming of Wells

Under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000, the Department of State Development will not approve a well name if that name had already been used (drilled) in Australia.
*The onus is on the operator to check well names prior to sending in the well proposal to the Department of State Development.  The well name must be phonetically different to any previously used name.

The Geoscience Australia website has a database that operators can look at to see what  well names have already been used. Visit 

Vertical wells

The first well on a petroleum structure will be given a unique name (eg “Wildcat”) and be numbered as 1, subsequent wells on the same structure will be given the same name , but numbered sequentially.

Deviated wells

Single borehole Deviated wells will be named as above for vertical wells. 

Multiple borehole wells will be named as follows:

The first borehole will be named as for a vertical well above (eg “Wildcat 1”)

Subsequent boreholes which are deviated from the same surface location to new objectives will be suffixed by “DW” (Deviated well) and numbered sequentially (eg “Wildcat 1 DW1”). If the additional borehole is the result of an unplanned mechanical difficulty (ie a sidetrack), the well will continue to considered a single vertical hole, but may use the ST suffix (eg “Wildcat 1, ST 1”) for each sidetrack.

Relocated wells

If the well is prematurely abandoned due to mechanical difficulties, and is respudded a short distance away, it will be given the suffix A, B C etc. (eg Wildcat 1A).

Naming Structure

There is no space between deviation type and deviation number, and single spaces only.

Examples of this are below.

Big Lake 17 DW1
Big Lake 56 DW1
Moomba 31 ST1
Moomba 36 ST1
Albany 1A

Deepening of wells

If a well is drilled and the rig released, but is later re-entered and deepened (to address a new target), the original well will be named as for a conventional vertical hole (eg Wildcat 1), but the deepened interval will be named as for a deviated well (i.e. Wildcat1 DW1). If the deepening is split into two operations due to technical reasons ( eg drilling suspended due to flooding, or part of the hole is drilled with a coiled tubing unit, and part with conventional rig), then only one well name will be assigned.

For more information, contact:

Manager Geological Data Services
Geology and Exploration
Energy Resources Division

+ 61 8 8463 3220