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Recent Petroleum Exploration Activity – Onshore Gippsland Basin


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Author Carmody J


Gippsland has perhaps the most colourful history of exploration of any area in Australia. Hydrocarbons were first discovered in the Gippsland Basin in 1924 when a water well at Lakes Entrance encountered oil and gas shows. In 1942, the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments, in an effort to supplement a wartime oil shortage, sank a shaft near this well and produced 8000 barrels of low gravity oil up to 1956, when the field was abandoned. A total of 64 shallow wells had been drilled in the Lakes Entrance area by that time. Elsewhere in the onshore Gippsland Basin, 30 wells were drilled from 1925 to 1941. In 1960 BHP Ltd was granted an exploration permit covering much of the offshore area of the Gippsland Basin. Esso Australia Ltd joined BHP in 1964 and drilled the Barracouta-1 gas discovery in 1965. Since then over 100 exploration and appraisal wells have been drilled in the basin resulting in the discovery to date of some 3.6 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 8.8 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas (Current remaining recoverable reserves are 906 million barrels of oil and 5.7 TCF of gas). Exploration in the offshore areas is actively continuing today and new discoveries are still being made.