A closer look at Otway Basin’s rocks

The Victorian Government is working to deliver a better picture of the state’s gas resources, analysing rocks in Victoria’s south-west.

There is little geological information about the Penola Trough – which runs west from Casterton across the South Australian Border – and a new project intends to do more research on rock layers to better understand the continuity and properties of the rocks which make up the Trough.

Having analysed over 3,500 physical rock samples from different depths across south west Victoria, the Victorian Gas Program now has rocks up to three kilometres deep in its sights.

The Geological Survey of Victoria is seeking a suitably qualified and environmentally conscious company to organise and manage a geological project, known as stratigraphic drilling, in the Penola Trough.

The project is at the feasibility stage, with the Victorian Gas Program to decide later this year whether it should proceed based on an assessment by the successful contractor, regulatory requirements and significant community consultation.

This type of drilling will help to determine the geographical extent of significant rock layers at a regional scale.

The Resources Amendment Legislation (Fracking Ban) Act 2017 has banned exploring for onshore conventional gas through a moratorium until 30 June 2020.

The independent Stakeholder Advisory Panel for the Onshore Conventional Gas Studies, chaired by Victoria’s Lead Scientist Dr Amanda Caples, was recently briefed on the approach.

The panel includes Victorian Farmers Federation, Environment Victoria, local government, community and industry representatives.

Fracking is permanently banned in Victoria. There are currently no proven and probable onshore conventional gas reserves in the state, and the Victorian Gas Program is working to provide a scientific evidence-based gas resource estimate to aid future decision making.

As noted by Director of the Geological Survey of Victoria Paul McDonald:

“This project is undertaking extensive geoscientific studies of south-west Victoria’s geological formations, to deliver a scientific picture of the Penola Trough to inform government decision-making.”

“It is important to note this project is not targeting gas but drilling to better understand the rock layers in the Penola Trough.”

As noted by Victoria’s Lead Scientist Dr Amanda Caples:

“We are being open and transparent with our plan to deliver a scientific picture of the state’s potential gas resources, through the independent Stakeholder Advisory Panel and a program of community-focussed engagement activities.”

/Public Release. View in full here.