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UPDATE 1-BP well comes up empty at promising Ironbark gas prospect off Australia

* Ironbark-1 had been seen as potentially large gas play

* Ironbark had been seen as possible supplier to NW Shelf LNG

* BP’s partners’ shares plunge (Adds share price reactions)

MELBOURNE, Dec 29 (Reuters) - BP Plc said on Tuesday it has found no oil or gas at its Ironbark-1 exploration well off Western Australia, in what had been seen as a multi-trillion cubic feet gas prospect.

The result marked a big disappointment for BP’s partners in the prospect, which had been seen as a potential gas supplier to the North West Shelf liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, where BP is a co-owner, within five to 10 years.

“BP Australia can confirm that no significant hydrocarbons have been found at the Ironbark exploration well in Western Australia,” the company said in an emailed statement.

It said the well, which was drilled to a total depth of 5,618 metres, will be plugged and abandoned, but had no further comment.

“Bugger. A very disappointing result for us all,” New Zelaand Oil and Gas Chief Executive Andrew Jefferies said in a statement.

“Ironbark was a world scale prospect in a highly prospective address, and it needed drilling. We got an answer, but it was not the one we wanted,” he said.

NZOG and Cue Energy Resources said it would take several months to understand the implications for the Deep Mungaroo play.

Partners in the permit are BP, the operator with a 42.5% stake, Cue with 21.5%, Beach Energy with 21% and NZOG with a 15% stake.

Cue’s shares plunged 59%, NZOG’s shares slid 30%, and Beach’s shares ended down 4.3%.

Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Michael Perry

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