Officer Basin

Location Map

Officer Basin in relation to Australia

Location Map of Officer Basin in relation to Australia

Basin Details and Geological Overview

The large intracratonic Neoproterozoic to Late Devonian Officer Basin of Western Australia and South Australia covers about 410 000km2 and has a maximum sediment thickness of 10 000 metres. There are several major depocentres, including the Birksgate Sub-basin, Munyarai Trough, Wintinna Trough, Manya Trough and Tallaringa Trough in South Australia and the Gibson Sub-basin, Yowalgo Sub-basin, Lennis Sub-basin, Waigen Sub-basin, Wells Sub-basin and Blake Sub-basin in Western Australia.

Following a period of minor, short-lived rifting, thermal sag allowed deposition of predominantly fluvial and marine siliciclastic and carbonate sediments and evaporites. This succession is terminated by an erosional surface which is overlain by fluvial and glacigene sediments associated with the Sturtian and/or Marinoan glaciations. Depositional patterns were changed abruptly by the Petermann Ranges Orogeny with extensive uplift along the northern margin of the basin feeding deposition of widespread fluvial and marine siliciclastics with carbonates during the latest Proterozoic-Late Cambrian. Cambrian sedimentation ceased with the onset of the Delamerian Orogeny, which was accompanied by extensive basaltic volcanism in the central and western parts of the basin. A period of extension during the Ordovician led to deposition of shallow marine to fluvio-deltaic siliciclastics in the northeastern part of the basin. Uplift associated with the Alice Springs Orogeny terminated sedimentation in the latest Ordovician or Silurian. A suspected extensional event during the Late Devonian provided accommodation space for the deposition of fluvial siliciclastics also in the northeastern part of the basin.

The basin is poorly explored, with only about 15 000 line-km of 2D seismic coverage and only about 20+ exploration wells have been drilled. Numerous hydrocarbon shows from four distinct oil families are recorded from Neoproterozoic and Cambrian sediments, but there have been no commercial discoveries. Possible traps range from simple anticlinal closures, diapirs and fault-induced rollovers as well as stratigraphic traps.

Key References

Author(s) Year Title
Jackson, M.J. and van de Graaff, W.J.E. 1981 Geology of the Officer Basin. Bureau of Mineral Resources, Australia, Bulletin 206
Carlsen, G.M., Apak, S.N., Ghori, K.A.R., Grey, K. and Stevens, M.K. 1999 Petroleum potential of the Neoproterozoic Western Officer Basin, Western Australia, based on a source-rock model from Empress-1A. The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) Journal, 39(1), 322-342
Harvey, S.C. and Hibburt, J.E. (Compilers) 1999 Petroleum exploration and development in South Australia. 12th edition. South Australia, Department of Primary Industries and Resources, Report Book, 99/3
Ghori, K.A.R. 1998 Petroleum generating potential and thermal history of the Neoproterozoic Officer Basin, Western Australia. In Purcell, P.G. & Purcell, R.R., (Editors). The Sedimentary Basins of Western Australia 2: Proceedings of Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia Symposium, Perth, Western Australia, 1998, 717-730
Drexel, J.F. and Preiss, W.V., (editors) 1995 The Geology of South Australia. Geological Survey of South Australia, Bulletin, 54.
Ghori, K.A.R. 2002 Modelling the hydrocarbon generative history of the Officer Basin, Western Australia. PESA Journal, 29, 29-43