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Onshore Western Australia Reinvigorated

Bruce, Richard
Petroleum Division, Dept of Mines and Petroleum Western Australia, East Perth, WA, Australia.

In Western Australia attractive opportunities are being revealed with onshore Paleozoic and Mesozoic plays for conventional oil and gas, as well as for shale gas.

In October 2011, Buru Energy's Ungani 1 well discovered light oil (~37 degrees API gravity) in dolomitised limestones of the Carboniferous or Devonian. The well flowed at a peak rate of 1,647 barrels per day on a ½ inch choke. The original target was gas. This is the first significant oil discovery in the Canning Basin since the 1980s and is believed to be a new oil play in the basin.

In July 2011 the Valhalla 2 well was a successful appraisal of a significant gas accumulation. Preliminary analysis indicates the presence of a wet gas charged section of tight and possible conventional gas reservoirs across a Laurel Formation interval of at least 1,300 m. Buru's initial interpretation suggests an accumulation of several TCFs of gas and in excess of 50 mmbls of associated liquids. A possible new conventional play type has been identified in the Laurel carbonates.

The US Energy Information Administration and Advanced Well Technologies have both independently identified the Canning Basin as having in excess of 200 TCF of recoverable unconventional gas based on the Goldwyer Formation play alone.

In September 2011 New Standard Energy announced a farm-in deal that will see ConocoPhillips spending up to US$109.5 million covering the exploration costs of a Goldwyer liquids rich shale gas project in the Canning Basin.

Empire Oil and Gas made two gas and condensate discoveries in the Jurassic Cattamarra Coal Measures in the northern Perth Basin. In March 2011 Red Gully 1 tested 12 MMCFG/D gas and 832 barrels of condensate per day. The testing of the well resulted in the largest gas and condensate flow recorded from a Jurassic reservoir in onshore Western Australia. In April 2010 Gingin West 1 flowed at a rate of 8 MMCFG/D and 376 barrels of condensate per day.

New players may take up onshore acreage through farmin opportunities or by applying for acreage released by the Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum. The Department generally releases 5 to 10 areas for work program bidding twice a year.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90155©2012 AAPG International Conference & Exhibition, Singapore, 16-19 September 2012