ExxonMobil could begin drilling its massive Dory prospect in Bass Strait this week, in what could be one of the largest gas discoveries seen in the region for decades.
According to The Australian, Exxon has moved the Ocean Monarch drill rig to the Dory site, which could potentially contain 56.6 billion m3 of gas.
At current prices, such a find would be worth approximately $19 billion.
If the field lives up to expectations, it would be the biggest discovery on the east coast since Exxon and BHP discovered the Barracouta, Marlin and Snapper fields in the 1960s.
A strong discovery could provide long-term domestic gas supplies to an east coast market which some have predicted will face supply shortages as early as next year.
Exxon acquired its stake and operatorship of the project from Liberty Petroleum last year, while BHP also has an option to buy into the development.