Australia's Onshore Energy Program underway

23 March 2007

The head of Geoscience Australia's Onshore Energy and Minerals Division, Dr James Johnson, told a conference in Adelaide today that work was well underway on the Australian Government's Energy Security Initiative.

The government announced in August last year that Geoscience Australia would receive $134 million over five years through its Energy Security Initiative, including $58.9 million for onshore activities and $75 million for offshore petroleum exploration.

Speaking at the 2007 Paydirt Australian Uranium conference in Adelaide, Dr Johnson said that a considerable amount of data was being gathered already through deep seismic surveys and work would start soon on aerial surveys and a national geochemical survey.

He said the acquisition of the new seismic, radiometric and airborne electromagnetic (EM) data would provide pre-competitive information to attract investment in exploration for onshore petroleum, geothermal, uranium and thorium energy sources.

"Geoscience Australia's scientists have developed an initial program outlining the work to be done, where it will be carried out and a timetable which will see the data collected by the middle of 2011," Dr Johnson said.

"Through the National Geoscience Agreement between the Commonwealth Government, the States and the Northern Territory, the Energy Security Initiative will be aimed at addressing energy-related projects of national or strategic importance, especially in greenfields areas," he said.

"The program will result in the acquisition of approximately 7 000 line kilometres of new seismic data, around 190 000 kilometres of airborne EM and about 140 000 kilometres of new gamma-ray spectrometric or radiometric data," Dr Johnson said.

He said the radiometrics would be particularly important for the detection of uranium, thorium and potassium concentrations, all of which are indicators for potential sources of geothermal energy.

The geochemical survey and the airborne geophysical survey will be carried out nationally, while other surveys will be conducted in specific, targeted regions.

The main regional areas of investigation are in the north of South Australia, the Pilbara and Canning Basin in Western Australia, large tracts of the Northern Territory and north Queensland.

"The data acquisitions will provide detailed information which will significantly lower the risk for evaluating the potential prospectivity for energy related sources and other mineralisation," Doctor Johnson said.

Further information on Geoscience Australia's activities in the Australian Government's Energy Security Initiative can be obtained from an article in the December 2006 issue of AusGeo News.

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