Seabed samples may bring big boys back to Bight – Navtej Kohli

Navtej Kohli comes again with another recent development in Oil Exploration arena.

Oil exploration in the vast frontiers of the Bight Basin could be set for a revival following some important finds by Geoscience Australia.

Seabed samples dredged during a three-week marine survey last year has provided the strongest evidence of petroleum source rocks in the basin.

One sample contained 6.2 per cent total organic carbon, rich enough to classify the rock as an oil shale subject to further analysis proving a marine origin.

Geoscience Australia petroleum and marine division chief Dr Clinton Foster said the new dredging results would attract a lot of attention and drive up exploration interest in the Bight Basin.

He also said geochemistry had tied the new petroleum source rocks to bitumen washed up on the Bight coastline.

“All these things indicate that a working petroleum system is in place,” Mr Foster said.

The Geoscience Australia discoveries could not come at a better time. The Bight Basin is one of the world’s largest offshore frontier basins and is widely regarded as one of Australia’s best hopes for reversing the decline in oil self-sufficiency.

The Bight remains remote and expensive to explore, but the new evidence of a hydrocarbon system represents a significant lowering of risk. Coupled with the very large potential rewards of giant oil accumulations, this may be enough to draw cashed-up explorers back to the basin.

And as big oil frontiers become increasingly scarce around the world, the Bight may even show up on the oil majors’ radars. At last month’s announcement of the 2008 offshore acreage release, Geoscience Australia reported that international requests for its pre-competitive survey and well data now represented more than 50 per cent of all the requests it received, up from only 13 per cent in 2005.

Additional resources: Navtej Kohli

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