Geochemistry study supports hydrocarbon assessment

04 September 2012


Diagram demonstrating the location of unconventional hydrocarbon resources in comparison with conventional hydrocarbon resources

Diagram demonstrating the location of
unconventional hydrocarbon resources
in comparison with conventional
hydrocarbon resources.
© Geoscience Australia


An innovative geochemical study of hydrocarbon resources being undertaken by Geoscience Australia will provide an improved understanding of the potential for oil and gas on the Australian mainland.

The study is part of a project which is using an internationally benchmarked methodology to produce a nationally consistent assessment of Australia's unconventional hydrocarbons resources such as coal seam gas, shale gas, shale oil and tight gas.

Unconventional hydrocarbons are oil and gas resources that can occur as gases, liquids or solids which require specialised extraction techniques and, until recently have been largely sub-economic.

Petroleum geochemist, Dr Dianne Edwards, said that the geochemistry project is analysing core samples acquired from the States and the Northern Territory as well as oil, gas and rock samples which have been provided to Geoscience Australia by industry. These samples complement others provided to the Petroleum Data Repository under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 from offshore wells.

"We have been able to access hydrocarbon fluid samples obtained during exploration activities in the Bonaparte, Canning, Cooper-Eromanga, Georgina and Perth basins," Dr Edwards said.

"We are in the process of analysing these samples for their molecular and isotopic signatures which will allow us to place the sample data in the context of material already in Geoscience Australia's samples collection and in its databases," she said.

"These industry samples provide crucial supplementary information to the onshore basin assessments which otherwise would be unavailable, helping us to better understand how the petroleum systems of interest work," Dr Edwards said.

Details of the onshore hydrocarbon geochemical study will be presented at the Good Oil Conference in Perth this week.

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