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Exploration, Production and Development Activities in Western Australia and Remaining Frontiers


Ferdinando, Darren, Greg M. Carlsen, Department of Industry and Resources, East Perth, Australia


Global demand for sweet light crude and LNG has encouraged petroleum exploration and production in Western Australia to increase. Much of this is due to continued exploration of the Barrow Sub-basin, Exmouth Sub-basin, and onshore Northern Perth Basin. Successful farmouts in the Canning Basin ensure renewed frontier exploration activity.

Energy supply issues in Perth are encouraging aggressive onshore exploration in the northern Perth Basin where new discoveries can be quickly tied into spare pipeline capacity.

During 2003/04 77 wells were drilled, a 17% increase on the previous financial year. Significant discoveries were made in the Northern Carnarvon, Browse, and Perth basins.

New plays in the offshore Exmouth Sub-basin, and offshore Perth Basin and the acqui­sition of 3D seismic in the onshore northern Perth Basin, have led to increased drilling. Frontier exploration for the coming year includes a prospect in the Canning Basin with an upside potential of close to 1 billion barrels of oil and a second prospect.

Coal Seam Methane In 2002 the first coal seam methane exploration program in Western Australia commenced in the southern Perth Basin. From drilling results a zone of interest in the Redgate and Rosabrook Coal Measures has been identified. The target seams have a combined thickness in excess of 20 m.