New geophysical data helps identify suitable CO2 storage sites

Insights

05 March 2014

Map showing the Browse Basin off Western Australia indicating basin boundaries,where geophysical data has been collected and gas pipeline infrastructure.

Map of the Browse Basin off
Western Australia showing the
new data merged with existing
aeromagnetic and ship-borne
magnetic data. The main
structural elements of the
basin are also shown.

New geophysical data collected in the Browse Basin off the northwest coast of Western Australia has been released today by Geoscience Australia. The new data will be used to map the location of faults and volcanic rocks that can influence the suitably of particular areas for the geological storage of carbon dioxide (CO2).

The acquisition of these data is part of efforts to acquire, interpret and integrate new and existing pre-competitive data to assess the prospectivity of the Browse Basin for the geological storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) The Browse Basin had previously been identified as a prospective site for CO2 storage due to its favourable geology and the relatively high CO2 content of the natural gas found within the basin.

Senior geoscientist Dr Ron Hackney said that understanding the distribution of volcanic rocks and faults across the basin is a key step in assessing its potential suitability for geological storage of CO2.

Dr Hackney further explained that volcanic rocks located adjacent to or within a potential CO2 storage reservoir can impact the pore space of the reservoir rocks and reduce the storage capacity of the reservoir. This influence on reservoir pore space is equally important for petroleum exploration in a basin that is also known for its natural gas resources.

"The new airborne magnetic data is particularly useful because it can map the location of the generally strongly-magnetised volcanic rocks," Dr Hackney added.

The new data are a useful addition to efforts to map faults across the basin, which potentially can affect the geological seal above reservoirs deemed suitable for CO2 storage or that may contain oil and gas.

The acquisition of the airborne magnetic data was funded through the National CO2 Infrastructure Plan, and undertaken as part of Geoscience Australia's Browse Basin CO2 Storage Project. This particular geophysical survey of the Browse Basin was completed in late 2013 and acquired more than 184 000 line kilometres of data covering an area of 123 000 km2.

The dataset is now available for download via the Geophysical Archive Data Delivery System, and will be integrated by Geoscience Australia with other existing data to produce updated national magnetic anomaly maps to support future resource exploration efforts.