South Nicholson Basin

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A gravity map showing the completed seismic lines over the South Nicholson Basin region across the Northern Territory and Queensland border.

The South Nicholson Basin region has the potential to host major petroleum and base metal mineral resources. A comprehensive multidisciplinary data acquisition program, conducted under the Exploring for the Future (EFTF) program, has been undertaken across the South Nicholson Basin, a vast, poorly exposed region covering an area approximately the size of the state of Tasmania. In contrast with the adjacent well-studied resource-rich areas of the McArthur Basin and the Mount Isa Province, prior to the EFTF program, geological understanding of the South Nicholson region, was limited with no seismic datasets, minimal well penetration, and few geochemical and geochronology datasets.

In August 2017, Geoscience Australia acquired deep crustal seismic reflection data in the region between the southern McArthur Basin and the Mt Isa western succession, crossing the South Nicholson Basin and Murphy Province. The collected data has fundamentally improved our geological understanding of this highly prospective region.

The newly acquired seismic data, integrated with complementary geological field mapping and geochronology, organic and inorganic geochemistry, petroleum systems modelling, and a shale gas assessment, provides a foundation to build a better understanding of the regional resource potential.

Collaboration

The South Nicholson project was undertaken collaboratively with the Northern Territory Geological Survey, the Geological Survey of Queensland and AusScope, providing in-kind and financial contributions.

Outputs

Map comparing the new versus old outline of the South Nicholson Basin.

Exploring for the Future Extended Abstract Volume

New Data & Publications

Conference papers and presentations

Annual Geoscience Exploration Seminar (AGES)

  • Carson, C.J., Kositcin, N., Anderson, J.R., Cross, A., & Henson, P.A., 2020. New U-Pb geochronology for the South Nicholson region and implications for stratigraphic correlations, Annual Geoscience Exploration Seminar (AGES) Proceedings, Alice Springs, Northern Territory 24-25 March 2020, p. 44, https://geoscience.nt.gov.au/gemis/ntgsjspui/handle/1/90009
  • Henson, P.A., Fomin, T., Costelloe, R., Southby, C., & Carr, L.K., 2020, Exploring for the Future: discovering the Barkly region with new regional seismic data, Annual Geoscience Exploration Seminar (AGES) Proceedings, Alice Springs, Northern Territory 24-25 March 2020, p. 50, https://geoscience.nt.gov.au/gemis/ntgsjspui/handle/1/90008
  • Jarrett, A.J.M., Thorne, J., Schofield, A., Bailey, A., Champion, D.C., Carson, C.J., Kositcin, N., Murr, J., Collins, A., Subarkah, D., Blades, M.L., Farkas, J., Huston, D., & Henson, P.A., 2020, Shale geochemistry as an exploration tool in northern Australia: a comparison of the South Nicholson Basin and Lawn Hill Platform to the greater McArthur Basin, Annual Geoscience Exploration Seminar (AGES) Proceedings, Alice Springs, Northern Territory 24-25 March 2020, p. 50, https://geoscience.nt.gov.au/gemis/ntgsjspui/handle/1/90010
  • Carr, L.K., Southby, C., Henson, P.A., Carson, C.J., Anderson, J.R., MacFarlane, S., Jarrett, A.J.M., Fomin, T., & Costelloe, R., 2019. Exploring for the Future: South Nicholson Basin region project outcomes and sequence stratigraphy, Annual Geoscience Exploration Seminar (AGES) Proceedings, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, 19–20 March 2019. Northern Territory Geological Survey, Darwin. https://geoscience.nt.gov.au/gemis/ntgsjspui/handle/1/88380
  • Jarrett, A.J.M., MacFarlane, S., Palu, T., Boreham, C.J., Hall, L., Edwards, D., Cox, G., Munson, T.J., Brocks, J.J., Carr, L.K., & Henson, P.A., 2019. Source rock geochemistry and petroleum systems of the greater McArthur Basin and links to other northern Australian Proterozoic basins, Annual Geoscience Exploration Seminar (AGES) Proceedings, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, 19–20 March 2019. Northern Territory Geological Survey, Darwin. https://geoscience.nt.gov.au/gemis/ntgsjspui/handle/1/88381
  • Henson, P.A, Carr, L.K., Fomin, T., Gerner, E. Costelloe, R., Southby, C., Anderson, J.R, Bailey, A.H.E, Lewis, C., Champion, D.C., Huston, D., the Northern Territory Geological Survey and the Queensland Geological Survey, 2018. Exploring for the Future - Discovering the South Nicholson Basin region with new seismic data. In: Annual Geoscience Exploration Seminar (AGES) 2018. Record of abstracts. Northern Territory Geological Survey, Record, pp 52–54. https://geoscience.nt.gov.au/gemis/ntgsjspui/handle/1/87092
  • Blewett, R., 2017, Exploring for the Future: a new initiative to unlock Northern Australia s minerals, energy and groundwater resources. Annual Geoscience Exploration Seminar (AGES) Proceedings, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, 28–29 March 2017. Northern Territory Geological Survey. https://geoscience.nt.gov.au/gemis/ntgsjspui/handle/1/85112

Australian Exploration Geoscience Conference (ASEG)

  • Anderson, J. R., Carson, C. J., Lewis, C. L., Kositcin, N., Cross, A., Carr, L. K., & Henson, P.A. 2019, Exploring for the Future: new U–Pb geochronology for the South Nicholson region and implications for stratigraphic correlations. ASEG Extended Abstracts, 2019(1): 1-5. https://doi.org/10.1080/22020586.2019.12073005
  • Southby, C., Carr, L. K., Henson, P.A., Haines, P., Zhan, A., Anderson, J.R., MacFarlane, S., Fomin, T., & Costelloe, R., 2019, Exploring for the Future: Kidson Sub-basin seismic interpretation. ASEG Extended Abstracts, 2019(1): 1-3. https://doi.org/10.1080/22020586.2019.12073007
  • Anderson, J.R. & Fraser, G.L. 2018. Towards a U-Pb age map for northern Australia. ASEG Extended Abstracts 2018(1), 1-3. https://doi.org/10.1071/ASEG2018abP035

Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA)

  • Henson, P.A., Robinson, D., Carr, L.K, Edwards, D.S., MacFarlane, S.K., Jarrett, A.J.M., & Bailey, A.H.E. 2020. Exploring for the Future- a new oil and gas frontier in northern Australia. https://doi.org/10.1071/AJ19080
  • Jarrett, A.J.M., Bailey, A.E.H., Boreham, C.J., Palu, T., Hall, L.S., Shannon, A., Collins, A.S., Vinnichenko, G., Brocks, J.J., Li, Z., Munson, T.J., Edwards, S., Carr, L.K., & Henson, P.A. 2020. A geochemical investigation into the resource potential of the Lawn Hill Platform, northern Australia. The APPEA Journal 60, 722-731. https://doi.org/10.1071/AJ19118
  • Bailey A.H.E. & Henson P.A. 2019. Variation of vertical stress in the onshore Canning Basin, Western Australia. The APPEA Journal 59, 264-382 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1071/AJ18259
  • Bailey, A.H.E., Wang, L., Henson, P.A., & Hall, L.S. 2019. Rock properties and in-situ stress state of the Egilabria prospect, Lawn Hill Platform, Queensland. The APPEA Journal 59, 383-393. https://doi.org/10.1071/AJ18260
  • Boreham, C.J., Edwards, D.S., Poreda, R.J., Darrah, T.H., Zhu, R., Grosjean, E., Main, P.T., Waltenberg, K., & Henson, P.A., 2018. Helium in the Australian liquefied natural gas economy. The APPEA Journal 58, 209-237. https://doi.org/10.1071/AJ17049

Asia Pacific Unconventional Resources Technology Conference (UrTec)

  • Bailey, A.H.E, Jarrett, A.J.M., Hall, L.S., Bradshaw, B.E., Wang, L., Palu, T.J., Orr, M.L., Carr, L.K., & Henson, P.A. 2020. Shale Gas Prospectivity of the Lawn Hill Platform, Isa Superbasin. http://pid.geoscience.gov.au/dataset/ga/131658
  • Jarrett, A.J.M., Bailey, A.H.E, Hall, L.S., Champion, D.C., Wang, L., Long, I., Webster, T., Byass, J., Hong, Z., Chen, J., & Henson, P.A. 2020. A multiproxy characterisation of shale brittleness in the Isa Superbasin, northern Australia. http://pid.geoscience.gov.au/dataset/ga/131665

Related information

Vibroseis trucksVibroseis trucks alongside the Barkly Highway, Queensland, working on the South Nicholson Basin seismic line.