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Gippsland Basin Exploration: Recent Results and Outlook for Australia’s Oldest Producing Offshore Area


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Author Evans K


During the period 1981 – 1991, Esso Australia and their Joint Venture partners have discovered about 180 MB of liquids (crude and condensate), 60 MB natural gas liquids and 800 – 1000 GCF of gas. A total of 48 wildcat wells were drilled including 12 new pool discoveries drilled from platform facilities. Significant discoveries include the West Tuna, Kipper, Blackback and Terakihi fields. These four discoveries, contribute to 75 per cent of the total reserves discovered in the last decade and were all high-risk plays. The Kipper discovery, in the pre-Latrobe Golden Beach Group top sealed by volcanics, and the Blackback-Terakihi discoveries, located on the present day continental slope in water depths ranging from 300-700 metres are both the result of successful drilling outside the traditional exploration bounds for the basin. During the last decade, Esso and its partners have spent about A$400M on wildcat exploration activity. The exploration success rate, excluding platform based drilling, has been 50 per cent for wildcat wells. On a technical front, the last decade has heralded substantial improvements in seismic data quality. Peak frequency content in seismic data at the Latrobe Group target levels is now double that of the early 1980s. Significant advances have also been made in our understanding of sequence stratigraphy, geochemistry and geohistory of the basin.