Offshore Energy Security Program

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Geoscience Australia has released Towards Future Energy Discovery summarising the work completed under its Energy Security Program. It is the culmination of five years of offshore and onshore data acquisition and regional studies to encourage further exploration for energy resources. This catalogue of achievements also identifies new opportunities and potential for energy and mineral discovery in under-explored regions.

The funding from the Offshore Energy Security Program was distributed among a number of existing projects to further enhance work already being done.

One of the key outcomes of this program was a complete interpretation of data from southwest frontiers of Western Australia to assess hydrocarbon potential, and complete the assessment of the petroleum potential of remote eastern frontier basins.

Southern Frontiers Project

The Southern Frontiers project involved the interpretation and integration of geological and geophysical datasets in the under-explored areas of the deepwater Otway and Sorell basins and publication of results. It also encompassed margin synthesis studies along Australia’s southern continental margin and the provision of geoscientific advice on the area extending from Bass Strait in the east to offshore Cape Leeuwin in the west.

The results of the project will include an improved understanding of the petroleum prospectivity and resource potential of frontier basins along the southern Australian margin, in particular the deepwater Otway and Sorell basins, to underpin promotion of selected areas for petroleum acreage release, as part of the Offshore Energy Security Program and future marine planning.

Southwest Frontiers Project

The Southwest Frontiers project involved basement, basin and petroleum systems studies of the southwest continental margin, from the Naturaliste Plateau in the south to the Exmouth Plateau in the north. During 2010-2011, the project focused on developing tectono-stratigraphic, structural and petroleum systems frameworks for the offshore North Perth Basin, defining the regional structural architecture and basement structure, and promoting new exploration opportunities in the offshore North Perth and Southern Carnarvon Basins.

The results of the project will be an improved understanding of the geology, petroleum prospectivity and resource potential of Australia’s southwest margin to:

  • maximise opportunities for the discovery of a new oil and gas province
  • underpin promotion of selected areas for petroleum exploration via acreage release
  • reduce exploration risk through provision of new data and interpretive information
  • assist future marine planning.

Remote Eastern Frontiers Project

The Remote Eastern Frontiers project was a regional-scale geological and petroleum prospectivity assessment of the Capel and Faust basins. The project is in the final stages of documenting the results of a four year study which encompassed the acquisition, analysis, interpretation and synthesis of data on basin stratigraphy, structure and potential petroleum systems.

It is expected that Geoscience Australia will finalise delivery of pre-competitive data and information to stakeholders to reduce geologic uncertainty in petroleum exploration and inform the Marine Bioregional Planning process.

Acreage Release and Promotion Project

The Acreage Release and Promotion project provides geoscientific and technical support to the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism for the annual release of the Offshore Petroleum Exploration Areas and to promote the petroleum prospectivity of Australia, as part of the Offshore Energy Security Program.

This will result in a broad awareness and acceptance of the technical opportunities of the acreage offered by the Australian Government for petroleum exploration investment.

Wells Taskforce

The objective of the Wells Taskforce is to upgrade the ICT and business systems that provide data on petroleum and stratigraphic wells so that Geoscience Australia can continue to provide relevant, accurate information to the minerals, petroleum, and energy sectors to enhance national wealth and energy security.

The desired outcomes of the Wells Taskforce are improved discoverability of Wells data and enhanced quality of data provided. The Wells Taskforce will also result in reduced time and effort to assemble datasets for Acreage Release and improved confidence in the security of commercially sensitive data. Internally, the Taskforce will streamline the management and transfer of data within Geoscience Australia, reduce operating overheads and improve the Business Continuity of Wells data.

Seabed Mapping and Coastal Management

The Seabed Mapping and Coastal Characterisation project coordinates the delivery of technical advice on the management of Australia's offshore living and non-living resources in support of the Offshore Energy Security Program. This involves:

  • providing advice on offshore resources including preparing seabed environmental summaries for future acreage release areas
  • conducting seabed mapping surveys in areas of planned offshore infrastructure development
  • maintaining fundamental national geoscience datasets for the seabed
  • developing and undertaking scientific research in the use of abiotic variables to predict potential marine biodiversity and habitat distributions and
  • providing scientific support for the development of web-based information systems to deliver high-quality data and scientific products to government and the public.

A result of this work will be a raised awareness of the use of geoscience information and research in drafting marine policy by the Australian Government and in environmental regulation by Australia's offshore resource industry.


Topic contact: Last updated: May 31, 2012