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Petroleum Industry in the Amadeus Basin, Central Australia

Dennis D. Benbow

The Amadeus basin is a remnant of a much larger intracratonic depositional depression that once covered a large region of central Australia. The basin is underlain by a thick sequence of unmetamorphosed shallow marine to continental sedimentary rocks ranging generally from upper Proterozoic to Late Devonian in age. Several orogenic episodes active during various periods of geological time accompanied by salt tectonics have been the dominant elements in the complex structural evolution of the Amadeus basin.

Petroleum exploration began in the late 1950s and has continued in a limited manner since that time. This work resulted in the discovery of two major fields and two smaller gas accumulations. Production commenced in 1983 and currently is at daily levels of approximately 2,000 barrels of oil and 22 million cubic feet of gas. Further marketing discussions are underway with respect to the large volume of undedicated proven gas reserves existent in the basin.

Explorers have faced many difficulties of a technical and commercial nature in the remote Amadeus basin, which is approximately 1,000 miles from the nearest major population center, and this paper notes that much exploration effort still is required.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91028©1989 AAPG History of Petroleum Industry Symposium, September 17-20, 1989, Titusville, Pennsylvania.