Australia: Explorers pursuing source rocks in two basins

Australian explorers have reported progress on shale and source rock exploratory projects in the Georgina and Gippsland basins.

PetroFrontier Corp., Calgary, said it retains confidence in shale prospects in the southern Georgina basin in Australia after its Owen-3H well failed to recover hydrocarbons.

PetroFrontier, exploring Georgina with Statoil Australia Oil & Gas AS, said its board has begun a process to identify, examine, and consider strategic alternatives such as a recapitalization, merger, or other business combination or even a sale. The company is in need of financing.

After 20 days of tests, Owen-3H flowed back treating and drilling fluids but no hydrocarbons and has been shut-in. During hydraulic stimulation, PetroFrontier utilized an advanced chemical tracer application to allow subsequent flow differentiation from each of the ten ports. Tracer samples are being analyzed and once fully evaluated may lead to a remedial workover program.

Laboratory analysis of Owen-3 core indicated porosities of 1.6% to 6.7% and low permeability, all as expected. This analysis also indicated that the core fluids contained 90% oil and 10% water. Oil was observed dripping from the core, which indicated that it is movable. Furthermore, no water was apparent on the logs in either the Owen-3 pilot hole or the Owen-3H well.

Meanwhile, Lakes Oil NL and Armour Energy Ltd. are moving in a rig to drill a stratigraphic corehole on PEP 166 near Yallourn Power Station east of Melbourne in Victoria in the Gippsland basin.

Lakes said the well is designed to further its knowledge of the carbonaceous source rocks previously encountered in Yallourn North-1A corehole that was located along the basin’s northern edge and encountered traces of oil.

The company believes the carbonaceous sequence thickens towards the deeper part of the central onshore Gippsland basin, and its technical team expects to intersect a much thicker interval at the Yallourn Power site than at the earlier well.

This carbonaceous sequence has the potential to produce oil wherever it is present and is thought to be the source of the live oil already recovered in Wombat-3 and encountered in many other Lakes wells. Lakes believes it may also be an additional source of offshore oil in the Bass Strait.

Lakes Oil views this well as a significant step in understanding the petroleum geology of the Gippsland basin as it may confirm Lakes’ view that it may be possible to recover oil from carbonaceous rocks in the onshore Gippsland basin. In the US, Lakes noted, oil is being produced from similar source rocks and shales.

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