Exploring Australia's onshore petroleum potential

15 May 2012

Location map of recent seismic surveys in the western Officer and southern Carnarvon Basins in Western Australia.

Location map of recent seismic
surveys in the western Officer
and southern Carnarvon Basins
in Western Australia.

New insights from recent geological studies by Geoscience Australia has increased the geological knowledge of several onshore petroleum exploration regions in Western Australia, which may have implications for the discovery of mineral and petroleum resources in these regions.

The details of two recent seismic surveys, which obtained regional subsurface geological information across several frontier sedimentary basins, have been revealed to the annual Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference in Adelaide today.

The work was carried out by Geoscience Australia in conjunction with the Geological Survey of Western Australia as part of the Australian Government's Onshore Energy Security Program (2007-2011).

Geoscience Australia geologist, Lidena Carr, said that the data collected in 2011 provided information on the geological history of the poorly explored western Officer and southern Carnarvon Basins, including details on the geological architecture and stratigraphy.

"Previous studies in the western Officer Basin have indicated the presence of at least one active petroleum system. This newly acquired data also confirms the relationship of the Officer Basin with the southwest margin of the Musgrave Province which is located to the northeast," Lidena Carr said.

In the southern Carnarvon Basin, the survey data revealed that the Byro Sub-basin in the south consists of two relatively thick and distinct areas of sediment, bounded by west-dipping faults. Geologists identified two distinct sedimentary layers within both these sub-basins. In the west, the seismic data also imaged the remains of the old meteorite impact structure at Woodleigh, east of Shark Bay, revealing that the structure is smaller than previously thought, but still over 50 kilometres in diameter.

Lidena said that the enhanced understanding of the geology in the various basins will help reduce the risk for petroleum exploration companies operating on the Australian mainland and also helps to narrow down areas with potential for hydrocarbon resources.

Topic contact: media@ga.gov.au Last updated: October 4, 2013