Oil exploration and production firm Senex Energy Ltd has posted its profits and announced a new partnership with Origin Energy in South Australia.

Senex made underlying profits of $31.8 million for the second half of 2013, a new company record, with gross profits lifting 26 per cent and net figures up 9 per cent.

The company also announced it has secured the rights to 10,000 square kilometres of oil exploration permits in the South Australia’s Cooper-Eromanga Basin

The 15-year petroleum retention licence scheme allows group-operation of sites, leading Senex to team up with Origin Energy to evaluate and extract gas sands in the basin.

The project is still in its infancy, but looks like it will consists of a two-stage work program drilling at least 15 wells and conducting large-scale seismic acquisition efforts.

The deal will reportedly see Senex retain operatorship of the permits during the work program. Origin has been given the option to become an operator following the commerciality assessment of the sites.

Senex managing director Ian Davies said Origin is the ideal companion to commercialise the tight sands project, which will require large scale hydraulic fracturing to access.

“Origin has built an unrivalled position in the eastern Australian gas market and has access to international markets through its APLNG export facilities in Gladstone,” Mr Davies said.

“Origin is a natural partner for Senex to accelerate the commercialisation of a potentially massive gas resource, especially given its long standing position in the South Australian Cooper Basin Joint Venture.”