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New Directions – Old Ideas Hydrocarbon Prospects of the Strzelecki Group Onshore Gippsland Basin


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Author Holdgate G R and McNicol M D


Petroleum exploration in onshore Gippsland was directed in the 1950s and 1960s towards plays in the basal Latrobe and Strzelecki Groups, but these became forgotten in the 1970s with the Latrobe play discoveries offshore. The principal explorationists of the time were Woodside Oil and Arco Ltd, who then departed the scene after drilling some 18 wells without major success. In the late-1980s successful hydrocarbon finds in equivalent age Otway Group sediments in the Otway Basin were made and in early 1990 Tyers Petroleum began investigations into Strzelecki Group prospects as applied to the onshore Gippsland Basin. Some 18 anticlines have been mapped, based on shallower coal exploration drilling in the Latrobe Group, which from seismic and gravity evidence are believed to unconformably overlie similar anticlinal structures in the underlying Strzelecki Group. Strzelecki targets of interest within drilling depth are the basal Tyers Conglomerate/Rintouls Creek Sandstone Formations which outcrop in the north of the Latrobe Valley and are analogous to the Pretty Hill Sandstone in the Otway Basin. In addition, intra-Strzelecki Group targets similar to Heathfield and Windermere Sandstone Members are also considered to be present. Good source rocks are abundant including coal seams and carbonaceous sediments of Neocomian and Jurassic age, which lie within the oil window. Seal is provided by the overlying Aptian-Albian aged volcanogenic sediments. The Tyers/Rintouls sandstones – a target in the Woodside/Arco wells, with two exceptions, were not reached. Encouraging intra-Strzelecki shows were reported in many of the wells. Basal and intra-Strzelecki porous quartzose sandstones remain one of the few untested plays left in the Gippsland Basin and, in the onshore, merit extra attention as they he within the oil window at economically drillable depths.