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Well-oiled research partnership plans to dip into new reserves

26 May, 2009

A new research partnership between CSIRO and the Victorian Department of Primary Industries (VicDPI) will delve deep into Victoria’s basins to unearth new oil and gas reserves.

The three year agreement aims to assist energy companies to more effectively explore for new oil and gas reserves, reduce exploration risk and encourage investment in Victoria.

It was signed by CSIRO Petroleum Resources, Deputy Chief, Dr David Whitford and Victorian Department of Primary Industries, Deputy Secretary, Richard Aldous.

CSIRO project leader Dr James Underschultz said CSIRO has the research expertise and laboratory facilities to evaluate all aspects of petroleum systems, from source rock to reservoir.

“CSIRO techniques will measure various properties of rock cores, organic mater, and formation fluids,” Dr Underschultz said.

“They will model the basins histories, including the generation, migration and trapping of oil and gas.

“This will improve the characterisation of Victoria’s sedimentary basins and the mechanisms that drive the petroleum systems, which could contribute to an increase in resource estimates, attracting industry to invest into the state.”

Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources, Peter Batchelor said that finding new reserves is a key challenge of national importance to the oil and gas industry and Australia’s energy security.

“Not only will the research benefit Victoria, but the advanced integrated technologies developed in the program can be applied to other basins throughout Australia,” Batchelor said.

Our understanding of the potential for geological carbon dioxide storage and geothermal resources will also be boosted by information gathered from the research program.

Project leader for VicDPI, Dr Geoff O’Brien said VicDPI has expertise in characterising the geologic framework of sedimentary basins, in which petroleum systems may occur.

It also has an extensive dataset that will allow a 3D model of the State’s sedimentary basins to be built.

Dr Underschultz said the two organisations share complementary skills, expertise, facilities and background facilitating a more comprehensive petroleum systems analysis study.

The project is expected to be completed in 2011. Information will be released to the public through the VicDPI website as the research program progresses.

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