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From Monday 13 August Energy Resources Division will relocate to level 4, 11 Waymouth Street, Adelaide 5000.  Don't forget to update your links and bookmarks to http://energymining.sa.gov.au/petroleum

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Publications available for free download include the Petroleum Geology of South Australia series provides detailed information about the Otway, Cooper, Eromanga and Officer basins.

The Passport to Petroleum and Geothermal Investment Opportunities in South Australia USB provides summary information on prospective basins as well as investment and regulatory frameworks.

In addition, Bulletin 54 – The Geology of South Australia provides a useful overview and can be purchased through the SARIG online shop.

The Geology of South Australia

The geology of South Australia represents over 150 years of geological investigations in South Australia. It is designed to provide the reader with a comprehensive regional account of the products of sedimentation, deformation, metamorphism and magmatic activity throughout the State, with some insights into associated crustal processes.

Bulletin 54 - Volume 1, The Precambrian

Bull_54_V1_cover_thumbThe ultimate aim is to stimulate exploration and research, and to provide a sound geological basis for the equitable use of the State's resources.Volume 1 - The Precambrian - describes the geology of the older rocks of South Australia spanning the period from the late Archaean (approximately 2700 million years ago) to the end of the Neoproterozoic at 540 Ma.

Rocks of this age contain most of the State's metallic mineral deposits, and are currently the focus of intense exploration, largely as a result of the South Australian Exploration Initiative.

The major geological provinces of interest are the Gawler Craton in the centre of the State, Musgrave Block and part of the Officer Basin in the northwest, Coompana Block in the southwest, Curnamona Craton including the Willyama Inliers in the northeast, Adelaide Geosyncline in the eastern third of the State, and basement inliers in the latter.

Bulletin 54 - Volume 2, The Phanerozoic

Bull_54_V1_cover_thumbThe ultimate aim is to stimulate exploration and research, and to provide a sound geological basis for the equitable use of the State's resources.Volume 1 - The Precambrian - describes the geology of the older rocks of South Australia spanning the period from the late Archaean (approximately 2700 million years ago) to the end of the Neoproterozoic at 540 Ma.

Rocks of this age contain most of the State's metallic mineral deposits, and are currently the focus of intense exploration, largely as a result of the South Australian Exploration Initiative.

The major geological provinces of interest are the Gawler Craton in the centre of the State, Musgrave Block and part of the Officer Basin in the northwest, Coompana Block in the southwest, Curnamona Craton including the Willyama Inliers in the northeast, Adelaide Geosyncline in the eastern third of the State, and basement inliers in the latter.

General Geological Publications of Interest

Regulation & Compliance

As part of informing the regulatory process, Energy Resources Division commissions independent assessments and reviews, and constantly monitors national and international research to ensure decision-making relies on scientific, professional and appropriate assessment of risk.

Links to key research projects and assessments relevant are provided below:

Latest Research

Environmental Values of the Cooper-Eromanga Basin

This study provides spatial mapping of multiple environmental values, and indicators of landscape functions, vegetation and soil conditions, and environmental risks. This information allows rapid, routine and consistent assessments of the potential impact of existing or new industry activities on important ecological assets, and landscape functions. This spatial information has been produced at a locational accuracy of ~30 metres to allow more precise evaluations of risk and optimal siting of industry activities to avoid ecologically-sensitive areas, such as wetlands, groundwater-dependent ecosystems, ecological refugia and habitats for threatened species.

The publically available spatial data from this study provides all industry sectors the information to efficiently identify from their desktops the location of important ecological assets and plan developments and activities in ways which minimise environmental risks and costs. An application of this data and remotes-sensing technologies has recently been adopted for legislated assessments of native vegetation clearance and offset applications in the Cooper-Eromanga Basin region of South Australia.

The information obtained from this project is available to both industry and government agencies, as well as the general public through spatial layers on the South Australia Resource Information Geo-server (SARIG):

New spatial layers available:

  • Cooper-Eromanga Basin Groundwater Dependant Ecosystems
    • Persistent Waterbodies
    • Vegetation
  • Cooper-Eromanga Basin Significant Environmental Benefit
    • Unit Biodiversity Score
    • Vegetation Condition Score
    • Landscape Context Score
    • Conservation Significance Score
    • Mean Annual Rainfall

Background research available at: NVC Rangelands Desktop Assessment Tool for the Cooper-Eromanga: Technical Summary.

Spatial data and desktop tools provided by this study dramatically reduce the cost of many environmental assessments and monitoring activities by greatly reducing the need for on-ground surveys. These applications provide uniform and consistent results by eliminating biases or errors resulting from field observations influenced by variations in seasonal conditions or ecological knowledge of assessment staff. One of greatest benefits of this approach is that all industry sectors can efficiently identify from their desktops the location of important ecological assets and plan developments and activities in ways which minimise environmental risks and costs. An application of this data and remote-sensing technologies has recently been adopted for legislated assessments for most native vegetation clearance, offset applications and compliance matters in the Cooper-Eromanga Basin region.


Well Cement Integrity and Cementing Practices

The Energy Resources Division of the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC-ERD) regulates petroleum and geothermal energy industries under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 (PGE Act) and the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Regulations 2013. The regulatory framework is objective based and protects the natural, economic and social aspects of the environment within which activities regulated under the PGE Act are carried out. Key to this objective is the requirement for licensees to adopt and demonstrably implement good practices over the life cycle of their activities and projects.

In the context of well operations well cement integrity is a critical component to achieving one of the key regulatory objectives for the protection of groundwater resources.

To this end, as part of informing the regulatory process DPC-ERD commissioned an independent literature review into the integrity of cement by the University of Adelaide to identify and report on factors that play an important role in the integrity of cement for long term isolation along the entire well life cycle – from engineering design to execution and verification. Information derived from literature together with recommendations are provided in the report.

KEY FINDINGS

Critical to cement integrity for the purpose of zonal isolation are:

  • Appropriate design and verification of the placement of cement; and
  • Long term performance of cements.

International studies, hyper-links included below, confirm these findings and conclude that the proper placement of cement is more critical to achieving long term zonal isolation than cement deterioration. Proper placement of cement is achieved by adopting relevant industry standards for cementing design and verification to ensure adverse leakage pathways within the cement sheath and between the cement sheath and casing and/or rock formation are avoided.

Baseline integrity property measurement of legacy oil and gas wells for carbon storage projects

An estimate of the time to degrade the cement sheath in a well exposed to carbonated brine

Well Integrity Assessment for Two Monitoring Wells at Cranfield Field


Regulatory Philosophy Publications


Compliance Publications


Research Projects

  • Enhanced Oil Recovery
    Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) technologies used for tertiary recovery are currently not usual practice in Australia. There is only a brief history of commercial EOR application in the country, while secondary recovery techniques such as water flooding and pressure maintenance occur more frequently. However, interest in EOR technologies is noticeably increasing as Australia faces a changing energy landscape focused on improving reliability, affordability and sustainability.

    Australian oil production from existing fields has been declining since 2001 to approximately 300,000 barrels per day. As a result, in October 2017 Australia’s liquid fuel supply levels dropped to an equivalent 48 days of net imports – below the 90 day supply required by the International Energy Agency (IEA) Agreement on an International Energy Program (IEP), of which Australia is a signatory. Increasing the productivity of existing fields is therefore an important step for Australia to help secure domestic fuel supplies. The potential for EOR in the country has been estimated by Geoscience Australia to be in excess of 1 billion barrels of oil incremental to existing resources.Methods with potential for commercial application in Australia include gas flooding, chemical flooding, low-salinity water flooding, and other emergent methods such as reservoir enhancement through microbes and nano-particles. Gas flooding using carbon dioxide for EOR is of particular interest due to the added environmental benefit of sequestering carbon dioxide underground. Potential exists for carbon dioxide flooding in the residual oil zones (ROZ) of the Cooper and Eromanga basins in South Australia.

    The Energy Resources Division of the Department for Energy and Mining has begun a research project regarding carbon dioxide EOR, including screening of potential fields in the Cooper and Eromanga basins. Research findings will be made publicly available when complete. For more information see Presentations.
  • Flora and Fauna Communities of the Cooper-Eromanga Basin (PDF 21MB)
  • In 2016 the Energy Resources Division (ERD) engaged the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources - Science and Information Group (DEWNR-SIG) to undertake a characterisation of flora and fauna communities of the Cooper-Eromanga basins in South Australia, to provide fit-for-purpose ecological knowledge for the energy industry, the regulator and the state’s lead environmental agency. The information obtained from the project is available to both industry and government agencies, as well as the general public, through a spatial layer on the South Australia Resource Information Geo-server (SARIG).
  • Downhole Risk Practices Associated with Drilling and Well Completion Practices (PDF 5.4MB)
    This report presents the findings of a study undertaken by a university student employed by PIRSA to investigate the actual and potential downhole risks associated with drilling and completion practices in the Cooper and Eromanga Basins.
  • Impact of Seismic Lines on Ant Communities in the Cooper Basin
    The SA Museum was contracted to investigate the use of ants as bioindicators of the impact of seismic operations in the Cooper Basin. Almost 67,000 ants were caught and classified making this the largest single study of ants carried out in Australia.
  • Visual Assessment of the Recovery of 3D Seismic Lines in the Cooper Basin, South Australia (PDF 73.6MB)
    This study explores the visual recovery rates of 3D Seismic Lines in the Cooper Basinthat lie within South Australia and were created between 1992 and 2015.

For more information, contact:

Energy Resources Division
Level 4, Waymouth Street,
GPO Box 320
ADELAIDE SA 5001

Ph + 61 8 8429 2430
DEM.petroleum@sa.gov.au