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PETROLEUM ATLAS OF

VICTORIA
AUSTRALIA
BASIN STUDIES GROUP
PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT BRANCH
MINERALS AND PETROLEUM VICTORIA

november 2001
BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCE:

WOOLLANDS, M. A. & WONG, D., (EDS), 2001.


PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA.
The State of Victoria, Department of
Natural Resources and Environment, 2001
ISBN 0 7306 9476 3 (Hard Copy)
ISBN 0 7306 9477 1 (CD-ROM)

THIS REPORT MAY BE PURCHASED FROM:


Minerals and Petroleum Business Centre
Department of Natural Resources and Environment
8th Floor, 240 Victoria Parade
East Melbourne, Victoria 3002, Australia
Telephone: (61 3) 9412 5103
Facsimile: (61 3) 9412 5150
Email: mbc.info@nre.vic.gov.au

FOR FURTHER TECHNICAL INFORMATION CONTACT:


Manager Petroleum Development Branch
Minerals and Petroleum Victoria
Department of Natural Resources and Environment
PO Box 500 East Melbourne, Victoria 3002, Australia
Telephone: (61 3) 9412 5084
Facsimile: (61 3) 9412 5156
Email: kathy.hill@nre.vic.gov.au
Website: www.nre.vic.gov.au/minpet/index.htm

AUTHORSHIP AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:


This atlas was compiled by the Basin Studies Group in the Petroleum Development
Branch of Minerals and Petroleum Victoria. The principal contributors were Andrew
Constantine on the Otway Basin; David Wong and Tom Bernecker on the Gippsland
Basin. David Moore provided the images and commentary on the aeromagnetic
and gravity data. Natalia Liberman, Catherine Sivertsen and Eddie Frankel provided
technical support. Eddie Frankel drafted the figures for the Gippsland section and
prepared all the figures and diagrams for final publication.
Art design and layout was by Lahlee Harris Design.

DISCLAIMER
This publication may be of assistance to you but the State of Victoria and its
employees do not guarantee that the publication is without flaw of any kind or is
wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaims all liability for
any error, loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any
information in this publication.

FRONT COVER PHOTOGRAPHS (from left to right)


Diamond Offshores MODU Ocean Bounty this semi-submersible drilling rig
was used to drill the recent Geographe-1 and East Pilchard-1 discovery wells
offshore Victoria

Bouguer gravity image of part of western Victoria and adjacent offshore areas

The Twelve Apostles off the Otway coast: remnant sea stacks of
Port Campbell Limestone overlying Gellibrand Marl

Digital image of surface topography and sea-bed bathymetry in the Australian region
(image courtesy of Australian Geological Survey Organisation).
he Bracks Labor Government was elected with a clear view of
MINISTERS
INTRODUCTION T the importance of the energy and resources sector and the
particular challenges that must be met if the industry is to
continue to make a valuable contribution to the wealth and wellbeing
of all Victorians.
Oil and gas make a significant contribution to Victorias economy.
However, future availability will depend on continued exploration and
discovery. 2001 has seen the highest expenditure on oil and gas
exploration drilling in Victoria in a decade. It has seen new exploration
players to the State rewarded with considerable success.
Further exploration will be boosted by the Governments $7 million
investment in the Victorian Initiative for Minerals and Petroleum
(VIMP 2001) Program, which aims to provide explorers with improved
geological and geophysical information.
It is my pleasure to introduce you to a key outcome of the VIMP
2001 Program: the Petroleum Atlas of Victoria. This Atlas summarises
the results of regional geological work carried out over a four-year
period by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
It comprises a variety of new maps and images that are derived from
the latest datasets.
This Atlas provides a broad overview of the petroleum geology of the
OIL AND GAS States major oil and gas basins, and complements the more specific
MAKE A SIGNIFICANT annual technical reports on the hydrocarbon prospectivity of newly
released onshore and offshore exploration acreage.
CONTRIBUTION TO The most recent exploration successes in the Otway Basin have
confirmed that there are significant and highly prospective new
VICTORIAS ECONOMY.
reserves in our region. This increase in both upstream and
HOWEVER, FUTURE downstream activity will undoubtedly continue to attract further
company interest and financial investment. Although the Gippsland
AVAILABILITY WILL Basin has been the premier oil and gas producer in the region,
todays focus on gas supplies signals that the Otway Basin is about to
DEPEND ON CONTINUED play a more significant role. Moreover, the improved competitiveness
in the energy sector, coupled with a globally high oil price, will maintain
EXPLORATION AND
Victorias standing as an attractive place to search for oil and gas.
DISCOVERY The Bracks Government is developing a minerals and petroleum
industry that contributes substantially to the wealth and wellbeing of
all Victorians, while meeting contemporary community expectations
for social and environmental outcomes.
I trust that this Atlas will be a valuable reference for both current
explorers and an informative guide for new players in the region.

CANDY BROAD MLC


Minister for Energy and Resources

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 1


his publication has been prepared by the Petroleum
ABOUT
THIS BOOK T Development Branch of the Victorian Department of
Natural Resources and Environment. The atlas contains
a compilation of regional maps and images that summarises
the geological and geophysical framework of the hydrocarbon
occurrences in the State and gives an overview of oil and
gas exploration.

The Atlas is divided into three sections. Section A is devoted to


an overview of Victoria. This sets the scene for the petroleum
geology of the Gippsland and Otway basins, which are described
more fully in Sections B and C respectively. Throughout the
atlas, a variety of previously unpublished digital images highlight
geological features, the significance of which, in the context of
hydrocarbon occurrences, have only recently been recognised.
This applies especially to the architecture of the Palaeozoic
basement which, so far, has been given only limited attention by
petroleum explorers.

The regional geological work of the Basin Studies Group is an


ongoing project and it is planned that some of the images,
maps and diagrams will be superseded by updated versions as
the work yields new results. It is anticipated that future updates
will be added onto the CD-ROM, ensuring that the atlas remains
relevant. The format of the printed book was chosen to provide
a readily accessible overview of the petroleum geology of
Victoria. The atlas does not attempt to provide complete details
of hydrocarbon formation and distribution in the Gippsland and
Otway basins or a complete evaluation of the prospectivity of
the State. Rather, it has been designed as an introductory guide
to new explorers and a reference book for those with previous
experience in these basins, as well as general interest in the
petroleum geology of the State.

2 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


PAGE
CONTENTS C. Otway Basin
Basin Setting and petroleum activities
C1 Regional setting and subdivision 106
C2 Topography and bathymetry 108
C3 Otway Basin petroleum tenements
(at 31/10/01) 110
PAGE C4 Exploration wells 112
Petroleum Exploration Activity in Victoria C5 Seismic surveys 114
A1 Pipelines and permits 8 C6 Fields and pipelines 116
C7 Port Campbell gas fields historical background 118
Geological Framework of Victoria 10
Stratigraphy and Tectonic framework
A2 Topography and bathymetry of Victoria 12
C8 Stratigraphy and hydrocarbon occurrence 120
A3 Bouguer gravity image of Victoria 14
C9 Tectonostratigraphic history 122
A4 Total magnetic intensity image of Victoria 16
C10 Structural elements Late Jurassic
A5 Palaeozoic basement structural zones of Victoria 18 Early Cretaceous 124
A6 Regional geological map of Victoria 20 C11 Structural elements Late Cretaceous 126
A7 Comparative stratigraphy C12 Structural elements Upper Late
offshore basins of Victoria 22 Cretaceous Tertiary 128
Gippsland Basin C13 Bouguer gravity image 130
Basin setting and petroleum activities 25 C14 Total magnetic intensity image 132
B1 Topography and bathymetry 26 C15 Biostratigraphic subdivision 134
B2 Fields and pipelines 28 C16 Stratigraphy Otway Group 136
B3 Seismic surveys 30 C17 Stratigraphy Sherbrook Group 138
B4 Exploration wells 32 C18 Distribution of Sherbrook Group units 140
B5 Stratigraphic penetration map offshore wells 34 C19 Stratigraphy Wangerrip Group 142
B6 Gippsland Basin petroleum tenements C20 Distribution of Wangerrip Group units 144
(at 31/10/01) 36 Seismic interpretation and mapping
Tectonic framework and evolution 39 C21 Top Basement time structure map 146
B7 Bouguer gravity image 40 C22 Top Crayfish Subgroup time structure map 148
B8 Total magnetic intensity image 42 C23 Top Eumeralla Formation time structure map 150
B9 Structural elements 44 C24 Top Sherbrook Group time structure map 152
Stratigraphy 46 C25 Top Wangerrip Group time structure map 154
B10 Stratigraphy and petroleum systems elements 48 C26 Isochron Casterton Formation Crayfish Subgroup 156
Seismic interpretation and mapping 51 C27 Eumeralla Formation isochron 158
B11 Top Strzelecki Group structure 52 C28 Sherbrook Group isochron 160
B12 Top Golden Beach Subgroup structure 54 C29 Wangerrip Group isochron 162
B13 Top Latrobe Group structure 56 C30 Nirranda Heytesbury Group isochron 164
B14 Near Top Lakes Entrance Formation structure 58 Regional seismic sections
B15 Seismic strike section 60 C31 Regional seismic line A 166
B16 Seismic dip section 62 C32 Regional seismic line B 168
Geological Cross-Sections 65 C33 Regional seismic line C 170
B17 NW-SE axial geological cross-section 66 C34 Seismic section Digby Trough 172
B18 NE-SW proximal geological cross-section 68 C35 Seismic section Shipwreck Trough (strike line) 174
B19 NE-SW distal geological cross-section 70 C36 Seismic section Shipwreck Trough (dip line) 176
The Latrobe petroleum system 72
C37 Regional seismic line Portland Trough 178
Source rocks, Maturity and Burial History 73
C38 Regional seismic line Colac Sub-basin 180
B20 Anemone-1A; Source rock maturity
and burial history 76 Petroleum Systems, Source rocks,
Maturity and Burial History
B21 Volador-1; Source rock maturity
and burial history 78 C39 Petroleum source rocks 182
Reservoir rock distribution and quality 81 C40 Maturation Casterton Formation 184
B22 Porosity and thermal maturity versus depth 82 C41 Maturation Top Crayfish Subgroup 186
Well results 85 C42 Maturation Top Eumeralla Formation 188
B23 Baleen-1 well 86 C43 Maturation Top Waarre Formation 190
B24 Emperor-1 well 88 C44 Maturation Top Belfast Mudstone 192
B25 Kipper-1 well 90 C45 Reservoir rocks 194
B26 Golden Beach-1A well 92 C46 Geohistory Lindon-1 196
B27 Wirrah-3 well 94 C47 Geohistory Minerva-1 198
B28 Kingfish-7 well 96 C48 The Moyston Fault Shipwreck Trough 200
B29 Manta-1 well 98 C49 Subcrop outcrop age of the
Eumeralla Formation 202
B30 Anemone-1/1A well 100
B31 Blackback-1, ST1, ST2 well 102 References 204

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 3


4 PETROLEUM RESOURCE ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
While the search for mineral deposits in Victoria has a long history that
PETROLEUM began in the 1850s and continues to the present day, large-scale
EXPLORATION exploration for oil and gas did not commence until the 1960s. Since then,
Victorias oil and gas resources have contributed substantially to both state
ACTIVITY IN and national wealth and are anticipated to continue to supply state, national
and international customers well into the future.
VICTORIA Victorias first oil discovery was made near Lakes Entrance, East Gippsland in
1924, when the well Lake Bunga-1 intersected a 13 m oil column in
glauconitic, partly fossiliferous conglomerates in the uppermost section of the
Latrobe Group (Boutakoff, 1964). Subsequent activity in East Gippsland until
1951 resulted in the recovery of about 8000 barrels of mainly heavy crude
oil, most of which came from the Lakes Entrance oil shaft (Beddoes, 1972).
Offshore exploration began in the 1960s, when Haematite Exploration Pty
Ltd, the petroleum subsidiary of BHP, were granted exploration permits in
Bass Strait. BHP acquired the first seismic surveys, the processing of
which imaged the major east-west striking Central Deep of the Gippsland
Basin and outlined at least six anticlinal closures that could be mapped at
the top of the Eocene reflection (Esso Australia, 1988). In late 1964 /
early 1965, the Glomar-III exploration vessel drilled East Gippsland Shelf-1
(later known as Barracouta-1) and discovered a 102.5 m gas column at a
depth of 1060m. A second well on the structure, followed by further gas
discovery at the Marlin Field, confirmed that the Gippsland Basin had the
potential to become a major petroleum province.
By the end of 1969, eleven fields, including Kingfish, the largest Australian
oil field known to date (1.2 billion barrels recoverable) had been discovered
and the first five were on production as part of a long-term Esso/BHPP
joint venture agreement. Of the 25 wildcat wells drilled during that time,
12 were discoveries, most of which were hosted in reservoirs consisting of
coarse-grained, permeable sandstones at or near the top of the Latrobe
Group beneath the regional seal of Oligocene/Miocene carbonate-rich
mudstones. After the initial phase of high success rates, later Esso/BHPP
discoveries were limited through the early 1970s to Cobia-1 (1972),
Sunfish-1 (1974) and Hapuku-1 (1975) with only Cobia being placed into
production. Hapuku was significant in being the first discovery in deep
BY THE END OF 1969, water beyond the edge of the continental shelf. During this period, Shell
discovered gas at Sole, in the far east of the basin in 1973.
ELEVEN FIELDS,
In 1978, following the implementation of Import Parity Pricing for local oil
INCLUDING KINGFISH, (removal of government pricing controls on locally produced crude oil)
further exploration was encouraged, resulting in the discovery of the
THE LARGEST Fortescue oil field, followed by the Seahorse and West Halibut discoveries.
Following the OPEC world oil price rise in 1979 and the relinquishment
AUSTRALIAN OIL
of a significant portion of the original Commonwealth VIC/P1 permit by
FIELD KNOWN TO Esso/BHPP in October that year, several new exploration companies
commenced exploration in the Gippsland Basin. Shell, Aquitaine and Phillips
DATE HAD BEEN were awarded large tracts of acreage, but only Shell made significant oil and
gas discoveries at Basker and Manta in 1983/4 in Permit VIC/P19. Hudbay
DISCOVERED AND
Oil made several non-commercial discoveries (West Seahorse, Baleen and
THE FIRST FIVE WERE Sperm Whale) in 1981. The Esso/BHPP consortium continued to actively
explore the main part of the basin during the 1980s, but the emphasis had
ON PRODUCTION turned to deeper exploration plays in the intra-Latrobe section.

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 5


The most significant discoveries to be made in the 1980s were West-Tuna
(1984) and Blackback (1989). The West-Tuna hydrocarbon pool is an intra-
Latrobe accumulation trapped by fault-seal mechanisms rather than a
simple four-way closure capped by an impermeable seal, typical of the Top
Latrobe. Blackback-1 was a well drilled in a water-depth of over 400m, that
successfully extended the discoveries into the eastern deeper water areas
of the basin. It appraised the 1975 discovery at Hapuku-1. Several mostly
smaller discoveries were also made in the 1980s. In 1986 the Kipper Field
was discovered by Esso, the largest gas-discovery to date in which non-
Esso/BHPP participants were involved. Other successes include the
Patricia Gas Field (discovered by Lasmo/Hudbay) near the northern margin,
the Baleen discovery and the sub-economic Archer/Anemone discovery by
Petrofina in the basins southeast.
In the 1990s Esso/BHPP essentially scaled down regional exploration to focus
on in-field development, near-field exploration and workover drilling to optimise
existing field production. Nevertheless, a number of wildcat exploration wells
were drilled in the eastern part of the basin, which were unsuccessful because
of problematic depth conversion (Billfish-1) and/or invalid structural or
stratigraphic trapping concepts (Great White-1, Whaleshark-1).
Although exploration activity in the Gippsland Basin slowed in the 1990s,
there is today renewed interest in the basin. The Esso/BHPP consortium
has recently embarked on a major 3,900 km2 3D seismic survey across the
entire northern part of the basin, and a number of multi-client 3D seismic
ALTHOUGH surveys are being considered by seismic contractors. Furthermore, new
players are exploring recently awarded acreage, not only in the eastern
EXPLORATION deeper water parts of the basin, but also in the northern and southern margin
ACTIVITY IN THE areas. This interest has been partially fuelled by increased oil prices but also
by the recognition that the basin, although mature by Australian standards,
GIPPSLAND BASIN may still have significant potential, albeit in smaller and deeper prospects.

SLOWED IN THE The second prospective basin in Victoria is the Otway Basin. Although far
less explored, interest in the Otway Basin predates that of Gippsland.
1990S, THERE IS Sightings of coastal bitumen strandings led to a bore in Kingston, South
Australia as early as 1892. The earliest exploration wells in the Victorian
TODAY RENEWED part of the Otway Basin were drilled in the 1920s to 1940s in the Anglesea
INTEREST IN and Torquay areas (Sprigg, 1986). These wells were relatively shallow (less
than 500 m) and did not reach the Late Cretaceous. In 1959, Port
THE BASIN Campbell-1 drilled into the Late Cretaceous and found the first hydrocarbon

6 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


FOLLOWING shows in the basin. Drilled by the Frome-Broken Hill consortium, it tested
4.2 MMCFD in sandstones of the late Cretaceous Waarre Formation.
VICTORIAS
In 1966, Esso and Shell farmed into the Otway Basin with Frome-Broken
DEREGULATION OF Hill and drilled 22 wells offshore in both Victoria and South Australia.
Hoping to find an analogue for the Gippsland Basin, their efforts were
THE GAS MARKET, largely unrewarded with only minor gas shows in Pecten-1A. The major
THE OTWAY BASIN companies then left the offshore area by 1976, discouraged by the lack of
a commercial oil or gas discovery. Permits were however again taken out
HAS ENJOYED offshore in the late 1970s and 1980s by international companies such as
Esso, BP, Phillips and Ultramar, encouraged by commercial gas finds
THE RENEWED onshore. Nevertheless the results of this exploration phase were negative.
ATTENTION OF Only limited exploration continued onshore in the 1960s and 1970s.
However in 1979, Beach Petroleum discovered gas in North Paaratte-1
EXPLORERS also in the Waarre Formation sandstones, only 3 km NE of the Port
Campbell-1 well, which was drilled 20 years earlier. Further small onshore
gas discoveries were made by Beach in 1981 at Grumby-1 and Wallaby
Creek-1, all within the Late Cretaceous Waarre Formation.
In 1987, gas fields in the Port Campbell area went into production,
supplying the regional centres of Portland and Warrnambool with gas. In
1992, BHPP took out two new permits in the offshore area (VIC/P30-31)
and drilled two significant gas discovery wells, Minerva-1 in 1993, La Bella-
1 in 1994, in addition to two dry wells. After drilling a further three wells
BHPP relinquished the permits in 1997. The Minerva and La Bella fields
were retained, with Minerva being currently considered for development.
Following Victorias deregulation of the gas market, the Otway Basin has
enjoyed the renewed attention of explorers. The overall perception has
long been that the basin is gas- rather than oil-prone, although a number of
oil occurrences are found in onshore wells in the western part of the
Victorian Otway Basin. This view was further reinforced by five onshore
gas discoveries made by Santos in the Port Campbell area, as well as the
Woodside/Origin successes offshore at Thylacine (estimated GIP 600 BCF
1 TCF) and Geographe (estimated GIP 400 BCF 600 BCF). Despite
this apparent gas dominance, ongoing regional geological assessments
point to the possible presence of mature oil source rocks as evidenced by
waxy crude in Port Campbell-4 and the minor oil encountered at Lindon-1,
both onshore. It should be emphasised that the offshore Otway Basin in
Victoria is vastly under-explored (currently only twenty wells drilled in the
offshore part of the basin, including the Torquay Sub-basin) and that many
play-types remain untested.
Other sedimentary basins in Victoria may contain hydrocarbons but very
little modern onshore exploration drilling has been carried out in areas other
than the Gippsland and Otway basins. The Bass Basin, which is located
between the Gippsland Basin and the Otway Basin, is hydrocarbon bearing
in Tasmanian waters at the Yolla Gas Field and in a number of exploration
wells. Preliminary geological evaluations in the Murray Basin, carried out
by NSW, SA and Victorian government departments, have delineated
possible structures in the subsurface of the Tertiary basin that may have
some hydrocarbon potential. However, these areas are considered high
risk and will require considerable effort to evaluate.

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 7


> Figure A1 Pipelines and permits

Figure A1 shows the current status of pipelines and petroleum tenements


in Victoria including exploration pemits, retention leases and production
licences. Information on the legislation and requirements governing
petroleum activities in Victoria, as well as commercial, fiscal and
infrastructure information, can be found in a companion volume Guide to
the Petroleum Industry in Victoria published by NRE or on the Minerals
and Petroleum Victoria website. Updated versions of this image are
available from NRE.
Generally, new onshore and offshore acreage is made available through an
annual gazettal process in which prospective explorers are invited to
tender for acreage by submitting work programme bids for the areas
offered. NREs Petroleum Development Branch extensively supports
prospective explorers during the acreage assessment period, which is
usually 12 months, by providing open file basic and interpretative data and
assessment reports. At the time of writing (November 2001), bids are
currently invited for three offshore and three onshore blocks in the Otway
Basin and one offshore block in the Gippsland Basin.

1
Victoria is well served by a growing network of oil and gas pipelines.
Offshore in the Gippsland Basin a new gas pipeline is being constructed
from the Bream A platform to shore, which will enable the Bream Field gas

A cap to be produced. Plans are also advanced to connect the offshore


Patricia-Baleen Gas Field to the Eastern Gas Pipeline, which runs from
Gippsland to Sydney in New South Wales. Construction is also underway
to build and operate a gas pipeline across the Gippsland Basin from
Longford, Victoria to Bell Bay in Tasmania.
A proposed pipeline from the Yolla Field in the Bass Basin to Victoria and
two competing proposals to construct gas pipelines from the Otway Basin
in Victoria to South Australia are also planned. One of the proposals for a
pipeline to South Australia involves the development of the offshore
Minerva Gas Field. It is therefore expected that within the next few years,
gas will flow from the offshore Otway Basin to supply the growing
Victorian and South Australian markets.

8 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure A1

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 9


Geological Framework of Victoria
The Gippsland, Bass and Otway basins (see Figures A6 and C1) are part
of the southern Australian margin rift system that developed during the
Late Jurassic/Early Cretaceous in the context of Gondwana break-up.
The separation of Antarctica from Australia began in the Tithonian and
proceeded from the Bight Basin in the west to the Gippsland Basin in the
east (Norvick & Smith, 2001).
The successor basins to these events are represented by the Gippsland
cratonic rift, Bass failed rift, the Otway passive margin and the west
Tasmanian wrench margin basins (Hill et al., 1996). Tectonic movements
are still ongoing and continue to modify the depositional and structural
architecture of the basins on a regional scale. The development of
petroleum system elements, such as source rocks, reservoir and seal
facies, and varying structural features are profoundly controlled by the
pre-existing basement fabric as well as changing extra-basinal tectonic
processes (Figures A5, A6 and A7).
During the Tithonian, the Otway, Bass and Gippsland basins were linked
by an east-west oriented rift-system (Moore et al., 2000) which consisted
of a series of half-grabens that were initially filled with coarse-grained
alluvial material. During the Early Cretaceous, thick sequences of
dominantly volcaniclastic sediments accumulated as part of an extensive
fluvial system. Sediment provenance was associated with eruptive
centres along the eastern Australian margin (Norvick & Smith, 2001) and
clastic material was transported towards the west. Towards the top of
the succession, fine-grained flood plain deposits generated numerous coal
horizons. From a regional point of view, all Early Cretaceous fluvial
sediments belong to one depositional episode, but they have been named
separately as the Otway Group in the Otway Basin and the Strzelecki
Group in the Gippsland Basin, because they are today exposed in the
Otway and Strzelecki Ranges. After the continental break-up between
Australia and Antarctica, each basin underwent a different tectonic
evolution and basin-specific depositional patterns developed that were
primarily controlled by the relative position to spreading centres and
Palaeozoic basement blocks.
In the Otway Basin rifting had ceased by the onset of the Cenomanian
and was followed by a period of compressional tectonism and basin

10 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


inversion. Uplift and erosion of the eastern Victorian Highlands produced
sediments that were deposited in coastal plain and nearshore marine
environments. During the Turonian, the main depocentre shifted
southward and included parts of the Sorell Basin. Renewed sea-floor
spreading resulted in a prominent marine influence on depositional
patterns. From the Maastrichtian onwards, dominantly coastal plain and
shallow marine sediments accumulated during a phase of post-rift thermal
subsidence. Fully open marine conditions had been established by the
Early Oligocene and a change in ocean circulation promoted the
deposition of marine cool-water carbonates across the entire southern
Australian margin.
The Torquay Sub-basin was an Early Cretaceous rift terrace developed to
the south of the main depocentre (now the Otway Ranges). With
relatively limited rift-stage extension and subsequent thermal sag, Late
Cretaceous and Tertiary clastic basin-fill is here drastically thinner than
that observed in the adjoining Otway and Bass basins.
The Bass Basin persisted as a failed intra-cratonic rift, after break-up to
the east and west, and the subsequent landform evolution of its hinterland
controlled the clastic, non-marine deposition in the basin until the Eocene.
The similarities between the Late Cretaceous to Eocene thick, non-
marine, coaly sequences of the Bass Basin and the Latrobe Group in the
Gippsland Basin are quite marked.
The Gippsland Basin changed to an internally draining depositional system
during the Turonian. Deep rift valley lakes accommodated a thick
sequence of lacustrine shales while coarse-grained alluvial deposits were
shed from the uplifted basin margins. Opening of the Tasman Sea during
the Late Santonian promoted the accumulation of marine shales in the
eastern part of the basin while further west a broadening coastal plain
was established. Renewed extensional tectonism resulted in the
generation of numerous volcanic horizons, which are mostly confined to
the immediate vicinity of major faults. The Gippsland Basin underwent a
period of thermal subsidence, accompanied by normal faulting, from the
Maastrichtian to the Eocene. The interaction between coastal plain,
nearshore and offshore marine depositional processes was critical for the
THE INTERACTION establishment of the required petroleum systems elements. Sea-level
lowstands are marked by periods of channel incision into shelfal
BETWEEN COASTAL sediments, most prominently during the Late Eocene. Compressional
tectonism affected the basin during the Oligocene/Miocene, resulting in
PLAIN, NEARSHORE fault reactivation and formation of the major fold-structures that host many
AND OFFSHORE of the giant oil and gas accumulations. The regional seal to the
hydrocarbon pools is provided by thick Tertiary cool-water carbonates,
MARINE DEPOSITIONAL deposited after fully marine conditions were established along the entire
southern margin.
PROCESSES WAS
CRITICAL FOR THE
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE
REQUIRED PETROLEUM
SYSTEMS ELEMENTS

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 11


> Figure A2 Topography and bathymetry of Victoria

The topographic image of Victoria shows the potentially prospective basins


to be generally low areas (blue and purple on the image). Palaeozoic rocks
with a distinct north-trending fabric dominate the higher areas (red and
yellow). The rocks have been so metamorphosed that they have little
hydrocarbon potential.
The northeast trends that are present across all of southern Victoria have
been inherited from the Cambrian tectonic fabric. They are still seismically
active, and clearly define the eastern edges of Port Phillip Bay (PPB) and
Western Port Bay (WPB) areas.
The western part of the Gippsland Basin extends into these hilly areas.
Further east the basin forms the lowlands along the Ninety Mile Beach
(see also Figure B1) and continues offshore for some 200 km. Several
east-west faults are prominent on the image and clearly crosscut the older
northeast- and north-trending topographic influences. The east-west faults
have been significant in the basin development; the largest can be traced
offshore for over 100 km. The small high of Wilsons Promontory (see

2
Figure B1) marks the southern edge of the Basin. Figure B1 shows the
digital terrain of the Gippsland Basin in more detail.
The Otway Basin (see also Figure C1) is in the southwest of the State.
Its northern edge is the prominent east-west break of slope that extends
A west from Port Phillip Bay almost to the South Australian border. The
small circular features on the lowlands are Pliocene to Recent basaltic
volcanic cones. Close to the state border the basin edge is clearly marked
by the northwest-trending Kanawinka Fault escarpment.
The southernmost part of the Otway Basin is a northeast-trending set of
ranges. This area has a basement of Cambrian and older Selwyn Block rocks
(see Figure A5) which were inverted in the Cenomanian (about 95 Ma).
The Murray Basin, in the northwest of the image, shows as a flat plain that
can be divided into two geomorphological regions. In the west are the
DATA ACQUISITION arcuate Pliocene strand lines of the Loxton-Parilla Sands. Younger
SPECIFICATIONS: features have cut the dunes; in the far northwest, a Quaternary fault shows
The image is a composite of digital northwest block up movement. Quaternary rivers and lakes can also be
terrain model (DTM) data acquired from clearly seen cutting the older dunes. The Murray Basin is quite flat further
Minerals and Petroleum Victoria (MPV) east, in north central Victoria. The surface is largely from the alluvial plains
airborne surveys, Australian Geological
Survey Organisation (AGSO) and of the rivers that drained into the Pliocene Murray Basin sea.
Australian Land Information Groups
(AUSLIG) digital elevation model
(DEM) GEODATA DEM-95 data.
MPV airborne surveys were flown
along predominately east-west traverse
lines with spacing varying from 200
metres to 400 metres.
The data has been gridded to a
cell-size of 50 metres.

12 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure A2

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 13


> Figure A3 Bouguer gravity image of Victoria

The gravity image can be divided into regions that partly correspond to
the structural zones shown in Figure A5.
The Eastern Highlands (EH), characterised by low gravity values,
are displayed by the purple and magenta colours in the northeast.
The highlands are gravity lows because of the low-density mountain root
that is able to float on the higher density mantle. The relatively sparse
data give the image a smooth appearance.
Moderate to high signatures of the Lachlan Fold Belt (Ordovician to
Carboniferous) are emphasised in the central north. Similar to the digital
terrain model and the magnetics, these rock types show a strong northerly
fabric. In the south, the fabric trends more northwesterly west of the
Avoca Fault (see Figure A5), and beneath the Murray Basin in the north,
the trends become more northerly. The linear prominent highs are related
to Cambrian ocean-floor extrusives. The regional high along the New
South Wales border belongs to the deeply seated Durham Ox High (see
Figure A5).

3
The westernmost Lachlan Fold Belt and the Delamerian Fold Belt (Late
Cambrian) form a prominent high along the South Australian border, about
100 mmsec-1 above the rest of the Lachlan Fold Belt. The high responses
are due to an increase in the amount of intermediate and mafic igneous
A rocks and also to the higher metamorphic grades present in most areas.
The pronounced north-northwest linear low is the response from the
Netherby Trough (NT), a Silurian and Carboniferous terrestrial basin.
The southern marginal high is a 50 km wide linear belt that can be traced
westwards from easternmost Victoria to the South Australian border
about 100 km north of the coast. It is about 100 mmsec-1 above the
regional response in western Victoria and some 400 mmsec-1 above the
eastern Victorian regional response. This is presumably caused by the
crustal thinning associated with the formation of the Otway, Gippsland
and Bass basins.
DATA SOURCE:
The image is composed of data
The western Otway Basin responses are in a zone between the southern
acquired from Minerals and Petroleum marginal high and the coast. They are characterised by a series of linear
Victoria (MPV), Australian Geological lows parallel to the coast, which crosscut the north-south oriented
Survey Organisation (AGSO) and
Delamerian and Lachlan basement trends. The lows relate to half grabens
company surveys.
that were formed during the Otway Basin Late Jurassic to Early
The data has been gridded to a
cell-size of 300 metres. Cretaceous rift phase. Figure C13 shows the region in more detail.
The Selwyn Block (see Figure A5) corresponds to the relative high
between the relative lows of the Gippsland and Otway basins.
The numerous northeast trends exemplify the Late Cambrian Tyennan
Orogeny in the region and the gravity high is controlled by relatively
shallow crystalline basement.
The deep low of the Gippsland Basin (see also Figure B7) is only
documented in a restricted area onshore. Like the Otway Basin, much of
the east-west linear character may have formed during rifting.
Most of the subcircular 2 km to 50 km low responses throughout the
image were derived from Palaeozoic granites. Many of these are exposed;
others are interpreted as subsurface intrusions.

14 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure A3

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 15


> Figure A4 Total magnetic intensity image of Victoria

Apart from the Cainozoic basalts and Mesozoic granites, few of the cover
rocks have any significant magnetic response. Almost all of the responses
come from igneous rocks in the Palaeozoic basement. However the digital
terrain and gravity images (Figures A2 and A3) show that the basement
has strongly controlled the overlying basins.
The subcircular magnetic highs (red and yellow) are from Silurian to Middle
Devonian granites. In the east, highs from Silurian granites outline the
convex-south arcuate zones. Offshore to the south, these arcuate
patterns are mimicked by patterns beneath the Gippsland Basin. Point
responses from the offshore production platforms tend to cluster close to
the intermediate responses (green and pale blue), suggesting that the
fields lie more or less above basement structural breaks (see Figure B8).
The northern edge of the Gippsland Basin is shown by the sharper
magnetic responses. These are best seen in the north-south and
northwest-trending dykes. Shallower dykes have sharper responses while
deeper dykes have broader, lower responses. Several sets of magnetic

4
dykes are present near the eastern edge of the image.
The southeastern corner of the image has a different, blebby, character.
This character is also seen along the edge of the Permo-Triassic Sydney-
Bowen Basin, which extends over 1500 km to the north. The southern
A end is undefined as it goes offshore in New South Wales, but it is possible
that parts of this package could underlie the Gippsland Basin. A north-
south area of nonmagnetic sediments overlies the blebby package, forming
an area with broader responses. This package may be sediments in a half
graben related to Gondwana break-up along the eastern Australian coast.
In north central Victoria, the prominent linear highs from Cambrian ocean
floor basalt and primitive island arc rocks outline the northern edge of the
Melbourne Zone (Figure A5). In the west, sub-circular magnetic granites
and linear intermediate and mafic volcanic belts are both present.
Offshore, in the central part of the image, the linear highly magnetic belts
DATA SOURCE:
can be correlated south to Tasmania, where they are known to be from
The image is composed of data mafic volcanic rocks. Breaks in these patterns correlate with the edges of
acquired from Minerals and
Petroleum Victoria (MPV), Australian
the Bass Basin and the Torquay Sub-basin (see Figure A6).
Geological Survey Organisation
In the southwest, the edge of the Otway Basin (see also Figure C14) is
(AGSO) and company airborne and
marine surveys. difficult to see as it is masked by effects from Pliocene to Recent flood
The data has been gridded to a basalt. The images show a rough magnetic texture, but the broad
cell-size of 100 metres. responses from the underlying rocks are also visible. Along the coast and
offshore the regional responses are broader and lower than further north
where the Palaeozoic basement is exposed.

16 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure A4

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 17


> Figure A5 Palaeozoic basement structural zones of Victoria

Using the gravity and magnetic patterns (Figures A3 and A4), the
Victorian basement has been subdivided into 11 structural zones
(VandenBerg et al., 2000).
The oldest rocks are in the south, the Selwyn Block, and the west, the
Glenelg Zone. The Selwyn Block is the continuation north from Tasmania
of Precambrian and Cambrian rocks. All were cratonised by the end of the
Cambrian. From near the Victorian coast, they are largely covered by
Ordovician to Devonian Melbourne Zone rocks. Basins on the Selwyn
Block seem to be less prospective for hydrocarbons. Some, like the
Torquay Sub-basin, have few obvious traps. Others, like the eastern
onshore Otway Basin, have been inverted so that most of the prospective
sections are not present.
The Glenelg Zone was also cratonised by the end of the Cambrian.
Structures in the Upson Subzone have controlled the Late Palaeozoic
Wentworth Trough, below the Cainozoic Murray Basin. The eastern end of
the Nolans Subzone is also the eastern end of the Cretaceous Penola

5
Trough, in the Otway Basin. Other north-south faults have also acted to
internally partition the Otway Basin.
A similar process has taken place in the Grampians-Stavely Zone.
This zone is mostly of Cambrian island arc-type rocks, overlain by Silurian
A mostly terrestrial sandstones. The western Victorian onshore Otway gas
discoveries tend to cluster along the eastern edge of the zone, and the
Minerva Gas Field is in a corresponding position offshore.
The Gippsland Basin covers the Bass Zone and parts of the Tabberabbera,
Kuark and Mallacoota Zones. The Snapper, Marlin, Tuna and Kipper fields
lie along the northern edge of the Bass Zone (see also Figures B7 and B8).

18 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure A5

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 19


> Figure A6 Regional geological map of Victoria

Figure A6 is a simplified geological map showing the location and extent of


the main Cretaceous/Tertiary sedimentary basins in Victoria and their
relationship to the Palaeozoic and older basement areas of both Victoria
and Tasmania. The basement areas are discussed more fully in Figures A2
to A5.
In Victoria, hydrocarbons are exclusively developed in Cretaceous /
Palaeogene sedimentary basins. The Gippsland Basin is the most prolific
oil and gas province, while the Otway Basin hosts several large gas
accumulations offshore and numerous small gas fields onshore. The
entirely offshore Bass Basin is located in Tasmanian waters, but belongs
geologically to the southern margin rift-system. Only relatively limited
hydrocarbon quantities have been detected in this basin to date.
The Otway, Bass and Gippsland basins were initiated during sea-floor
spreading between Australia and Antarctica. Structural grains in both the
Otway and Gippsland provinces are sub-perpendicular to the major
lineaments in the Palaeozoic Tasman Fold Belt (see Figure A5), with

6
WNW-ESE and E-W trends dominant. The Bass Basin trends follow
distinct NW-SE orientations, reflecting extensional movements associated
with sea-floor spreading in the Tasman Sea as well as in the Southern Ocean.
The Tertiary Murray Basin is Victorias largest sedimentary basin, extending
A far northwest into South Australia and New South Wales. Sedimentation
did not commence until the Eocene, when a marine connection was
established with the Southern Ocean. The basin-fill is represented by
approximately 600 m of partly terrestrial, but dominantly marine sediments.
Many of the lithologies are potentially suitable source, reservoir and
seal-rocks, but a variety of parameters exert a negative influence on the
hydrocarbon prospectivity of the basin. Most importantly, the thickness of
the Tertiary sequence and burial depth of potential source rocks is not
great enough for hydrocarbon generation, leaving the sediments at
thermally immature levels. In addition, the Tertiary succession has been
subjected to extensive groundwater flushing and is only slightly faulted,
therefore lacking appropriate structural traps. Accordingly, the Tertiary
sediments are considered at best a regional seal to the Palaeozoic units
below (Campbell, 1988).
Hydrocarbon prospectivity in the Murray Basin is therefore limited to areas
where pre-Tertiary infrabasins exist below the Tertiary cover. The geology
and hydrocarbon prospectivity of these infrabasins in Victoria has been
discussed by Knight et al., 1995.

20 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure A6

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 21


> Figure A7 Comparative stratigraphy offshore basins in Victoria

The stratigraphic chart highlights the similarities and differences in the


depositional history of the southern Victorian sedimentary basins.
All basins were linked by a common rift-system during the Early
Cretaceous, but each underwent a different tectonic evolution during
the Late Cretaceous to Early Tertiary.
In the Otway Basin marine conditions existed as early as the Turonian.
The position of the basin relative to the spreading centre in the expanding
southern ocean controlled the amount of marine influence, with marine
deltaic sediments being dominant during the Late Cretaceous. More
marginal marine conditions prevailed during the early part of the Tertiary
until the Early Oligocene, after which marine carbonate deposition
prevailed.
The Torquay Sub-basin and the Bass Basin remained under terrestrial
influence for most of their evolution until the mid Tertiary. The Eastern
View Group represents lower coastal plain sedimentation and can be partly
correlated with the Wangerrip Group in the Otway Basin and with the

7
"Latrobe Siliciclastics" in the Gippsland Basin.
In the Gippsland Basin, lacustrine environments dominated deposition
during the Turonian, prior to the opening of the Tasman Sea. From the
Late Santonian until the Oligocene, deposition was controlled by fluctuating
A sea-levels as well as by episodes of tectonism that generated influx of
eroded sediments from the hinterland. Extensive barrier bar complexes
developed in nearshore environments, while organic-rich fine-grained
sediments were deposited across the coastal plain. Carbonate
sedimentation began here later than in the Otway Basin and is continuing
in the offshore today.
The stratigraphic distribution of the main oil and gas occurrences is shown
on the section. From a petroleum distribution perspective, the Otway
Basin is perceived as a gas-prone province. This view is supported by the
recent discoveries at Thylacine-1 (Tasmanian waters) and Geographe-1
(Victorian waters). Both accumulations are hosted by the Late Cretaceous
Waarre Formation, a mainly deltaic succession. Oil and gas accumulations
are also found in the Early Cretaceous Crayfish Subgroup sequence,
primarily in the South Australian part of the basin.
To date a number of sub-commercial discoveries of hydrocarbons have
been made in the Eastern View Group of the Bass Basin (including gas and
condensate at Yolla, White Ibis and Pelican, and oil at Cormorant).
Hydrocarbon occurrences in the Gippsland Basin are diverse, but most
of the giant discoveries are hosted by the Top Latrobe Coarse Clastics
interval (e.g. Barracouta, Kingfish, Snapper, Marlin). These clastics
represent offshore barrier sandstones that are characterised by excellent
porosities and permeabilities. Other accumulations exist within channel
sediments (Turrum, Marlin) and within intra-Latrobe deltaic sequences
(e.g. Flounder, Tuna). Stratigraphically deeper discoveries were also made
within the Golden Beach Subgroup (Archer/Anemone) and it is likely that
this interval may prove to be a worthy exploration target in the future.

22 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure A7

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 23


24 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
GIPPSLAND BASIN

By David Wong,
Tom Bernecker
Basin setting and petroleum activities
and David Moore The Gippsland Basin is situated in the southeastern corner of Australia.
The basin is located east of the city of Melbourne and is well serviced by
roads and population centres. It contains Cretaceous to Recent sediments
with thickness in excess of 10 km. About two thirds of the basin lies
offshore (Figures A2 and B1), with the eastern part in water depths of up
to 4000 m. Although oil was encountered as early as the 1920s in
onshore wells, all producing fields were discovered post-1965 and are
located offshore in water depths ranging from 45 m to 450 m. The basin,
one of Australias most prolific oil and gas provinces, had initial proven
reserves estimated at 4 billion barrels of oil and 10 trillion cubic feet (TCF)
of gas. The basin supplies currently (as at November 2001) 27% of the
nations oil demand and most of the State of Victorias gas requirements.
The remaining resources (at P50 level) have been assessed at 600 MMB
liquids and 7.4 TCF gas, much of which is likely to occur in deeper
stratigraphic units. Most of the discoveries to date have been hosted
within the Late Cretaceous Early Tertiary Latrobe Group. Onshore and
offshore, the Gippsland Basin has over 80,000 km of 2D seismic data,
more than 25 3D seismic surveys, and an exploration well density in the
main producing areas of approximately 1 well per 50 km2 (see Figures B3
and B4). Although a mature basin by comparison with other Australian
basins, by world standards the Gippsland Basin is still considered to be
relatively under-explored.
A network of pipelines brings produced hydrocarbons to the onshore
petroleum processing facilities near Longford (Figure B2). A gas pipeline
from these facilities was recently commissioned to deliver Gippsland gas to
Sydney in New South Wales. A gas pipeline is also being constructed to
bring gas to Tasmania. The potential for additional oil and gas discoveries
will ensure continued interest in the region, which will also be maintained by
several other factors. Amongst these are increasing gas market demand in
the SE Australian region, and continued deregulation and reform of the
upstream and downstream gas industry which, during recent years, has
stimulated increasing access to new interstate gas markets.

THE GIPPSLAND
BASIN IS ONE OF
AUSTRALIAS MOST
PROLIFIC OIL AND
GAS PROVINCES

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 25


> Figure B1 Topography and Bathymetry

The parts of the Gippsland Basin floored by the Selwyn Block (see Figure
A5) are clearly marked in the topography as the high areas (pink and white)
in the west with a prominent northeast fabric. In these areas almost all the
outcrop is of the Strzelecki Group. The region is one of the most active
earthquake areas in Victoria.
The east-west-trending Rosedale Fault (see Figure B9) clearly cross-cuts
this northeasterly fabric. This fault has had Quaternary movement, since
its eastern end displaces Quaternary sediments. Other movements are as
old as the Late Cretaceous and show a complex history.
The major lake systems in the north of the basin all lie just north of the
Rosedale Fault, suggesting that it is controlling their position. Similar
structures seem to be controlling the coast in the south, at about 146O15E
38O50S. These are mostly in the footwall of the Foster Fault (see Figure
B9), the southern basin-bounding structure. Further south, the outcrops
are of Palaeozoic rocks with Tasmanian affinities.
In the centre and east, the onshore Gippsland Basin is only a thin coastal

1
strip, largely controlled by topographic breaks, probably small faults, which
trend about 110O. The sediments either underlie the flat areas or the
adjacent foothills with a distinctive fine roughness. The highlands to the
north are all of Palaeozoic rocks.
B Perhaps the dominant feature on the image is the broad plain east of the
Selwyn Block. This is of Gippsland Limestone, which is still being
deposited offshore. A topographic break is present, from about 90 m to
120 m (dark blues) below sea level. This is most clearly seen at about
148O55E 39O00S. It may mark the maximum regression during the last
ice age, at about 12,000 years BP. The broad low south of the production
areas lies generally just north of the Foster Fault.
The Bass Canyon is in the southeast corner of the image. Seismic
sections across the headwall of the canyon seem to show that the upper
DATA ACQUISITION part is an area of active carbonate deposition, whilst the grooving in the
SPECIFICATIONS: bathymetry looks more like an erosional surface. Other erosional channels
The various data sets used to make this are clearly visible on both sidewalls of the canyon. These are interpreted
image have quite different resolutions; to generally be along fault planes.
poorer quality data generally looks
smoother. The colours have been The lower parts of the apparently eroding slopes are of semi-consolidated
histogram equalised. The highest points Latrobe Group. The floor of the canyon is of unconsolidated sand,
are at about 1500 m above sea level, the
deepest at about 3700 m below sea level.
apparently eroded from the Latrobe Group, with a 1 in 60 gradient.
The prominent colour stepping in the blue Circular structures in this unconsolidated sand, only visible in smaller scale
hues is an artefact from binning in flat images, have the appearance of active gas vents.
areas. Each step edge is at the same
depth, but the height difference varies Dredging of the lower northern wall of the canyon near the eastern edge of
between steps. Sun shading is from the image showed that Golden Beach Subgroup also crops out. Thus the
the northwest, which emphasises
northeast-trending features and subdues canyon, perhaps started in the Miocene, exposes a complete section from
northwest-trending features. the Santonian onwards.
The digital terrain image of the Gippsland
Basin is compiled from data provided by
Minerals and Petroleum Victoria (MPV),
Australian Geological Survey Organisation
(AGSO) and Australian Land Information
Group (AusLIG).
Bathymetric data is courtesy of AGSO

26 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B1

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 27


> Figure B2 Fields and pipelines

The Barracouta Gas Field was the first commercial discovery in the
Gippsland Basin, dating back to 1965. Other gas fields such as Snapper
and Marlin were discovered soon afterwards. Gas production began from
Marlin and Barracouta in 1969. These gas fields provide Victoria with a
competitive source of energy for domestic and industrial consumption.
The discovery of the Gippsland Basin oil fields commenced in 1967 with
Kingfish and virtually all the major fields were discovered from 1967 to
1969 with the exception of Cobia and Fortescue, which were discovered in
the 1970s.
The Gippsland oil fields have dominated crude oil production in Australia
since being commissioned in 1970. Gippsland Basin oil production peaked
at 450 kbd (annual average) in 1985. Since then, crude oil and
condensate production has declined as reserves in the first generation
major fields diminished and the rate of new discoveries could not
compensate for the production decline in the major fields. Production
increased during 1997/98 compared to 1996/97, due to the development
of the Bream B, Moonfish and West Tuna fields. The completion of phase -1

2
of the Blackback Oil Field maintained production levels in 1998/99.
However, the average daily oil production during 1999/2000 had fallen to
200 kbd.

B All development work so far has been carried out by the Esso/BHPP joint
venture in the offshore Gippsland Basin. A pipeline system comprising
approximately 4000 km of gas and oil pipelines has been established to
bring produced hydrocarbons to shore.
There are currently a number of smaller fields, including Kipper, Basker-
Manta and Patricia-Baleen, that are being considered for production.

28 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B2

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 29


> Figure B3 Seismic surveys

Over 80,000 km of 2D seismic data and 25 3D surveys have been


acquired in the onshore and offshore Gippsland Basin. Apart from early
regional seismic surveys, most seismic acquisition by exploration
companies does not extend beyond individual permit blocks. To date the
vast majority of the 3D seismic surveys have been carried out over the
major oil and gas fields to assist development.
Three significant regional seismic datasets were acquired in the last 15 years:
1987 BMR basin-wide survey that recorded signals to 8 seconds TWT.
1992 Esso seismic survey (G92A), tying the majority of wells in the
basin.
1999 deep-water seismic survey (GDW99) acquired by Seismic Australia
for Minerals and Petroleum Victoria in the eastern part of the basin.
At the time of writing, Esso is conducting a 3,900 km2 Northern Fields 3D
Seismic Survey, the largest three-dimensional survey ever recorded in
Bass Strait. The survey area covers several previous 3D surveys over

3
fields such as Marlin, Tuna and Flounder, thus providing a 4D component.

30 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B3

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 31


> Figure B4 Exploration wells

Although some of the offshore areas appear to be extensively explored,


with a total area of 46,000 km2, the basin is overall under-explored by
world-standards. The exploration well density in the productive part of the
basin is around 1 well in 50 km2, but the average well density throughout
the basin is about I well in 125 km2. The cluster of wells near Lakes
Entrance is related to the earliest exploration success in Victoria, when oil
was discovered in the well Lake Bunga-1 in 1924, located northeast of
Lakes Entrance township.
To date a total of 204 exploration and appraisal wells have been drilled in
the offshore part of the basin, and 160 exploration wells in the onshore
sector. Around 45 significant discoveries have been made (all offshore)
and virtually all were made in the period from 1965 to 1987. A thorough
review of the exploration history of the basin to the mid-80s can be found
in Brown (1986) and Esso Australia (1988). Since that time around 53
exploration wells have been drilled offshore and only 13 onshore.
In 2000, Gangell-1 and Trifon-1 were drilled in the onshore permit PEP157

4
in part to test the Strzelecki play. There has been only limited exploration
drilling (2 to 3 wildcat and appraisal wells per year) in offshore Gippsland
for the past few years. There was no exploration drilling in the offshore
Gippsland Basin in 1998 or 2000. However, three exploration wells were

B drilled offshore in 2001. These wells were:


Northright-1 in VIC/P41, a shallow well targeting a shallow Top Latrobe
trap on the basins northern margin,
East Pilchard-1 in VIC/L9 targeting seismic anomalies seen on 3D
seismic of Golden Beach reservoirs sealed by younger volcanics as
proved by Kipper Gas Field, and
Melville-1 in VIC/P42, a four-way dip closed feature with intra-Latrobe /
Golden Beach reservoirs mapped on 2D seismic.
A number of offshore exploration permits have been issued in recent years
and drilling commitments associated with these permits are expected to
keep exploration at a more active level. It is expected that, with the large
3D seismic survey of the northern margin being carried out by Esso/BHPP
and acquisition of multi client 3D seismic being actively promoted,
exploration drilling will continue well into the future particularly in the
offshore Gippsland Basin.

32 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B4

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 33


> Figure B5 Stratigraphic penetration map offshore wells

On this map, selected offshore exploration wells are each illustrated by a


simplified stratigraphic column that shows the occurrence and relative
thickness of major stratigraphic units intersected, as well as the deepest
interval encountered at total depth (see also Figure B10).
The vast majority of the wells did not reach below the Latrobe Siliciclastics
because this unit has been the main target for the majority of wells.
Furthermore the base of this unit commonly lies below 3000 m in the axial,
central part and even deeper in the easternmost area of the basin. By
contrast, the thin Latrobe Group veneer is found along the northern basin
margin where all wells reach the shallow Strzelecki Group. Similarly,
Mullet-1 and Groper-2 reached the Palaeozoic basement below a less than
100 m thick Latrobe Group interval in the south.
The high number of wells that only reached Top Latrobe or shallow intra-
Latrobe intervals reflects the importance of the younger Latrobe part of the
sequence as the major play in the basin to date. Early success rates
justified the concentration of exploration effort and targeting prospects at

5
the Top Latrobe Coarse Clastics. An additional factor, particularly in the
earlier phases of exploration in the basin, was the inability of the older
vintages of seismic data to properly image the deeper Latrobe and older
structures.

B Although well-control at this stratigraphic level is limited, the deeper Golden


Beach Subgroup (see also Figure B10) is now recognised as an important
target in the basin. The discoveries at Basker-Manta and Kipper on the
northern side of the basin, and at Archer and Anemone on the southern
basin margin have demonstrated that a petroleum system operated within
the Golden Beach Subgroup. This stratigraphic interval has only been
intersected by 33 wells in the basin, and well control suggests that the
petroleum system is likely to extend through the eastern part of the basin.
The latest discovery (2001) at East Pilchard-1, south of the Kipper Field,
where 100 m of gross gas pay was encountered, confirmed the intra-
Latrobe / Golden Beach play in the northern margin and also reinforced the
value of 3D seismic in mapping and defining structures.

34 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B5

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 35


> Figure B6 Gippsland Basin Petroleum Tenements (At 31/10/01)

Production Tenement Expiry


Licenses Field(s) Holders Date
VIC/L1, L2, L3, L4 Barracouta, Marlin, TunaEsso 50%* BHPP 50% 24/08/2009
VIC/L5, L6, L7, L8 Halibut, Cobia, Kingfish Esso 50%* BHPP 50% 19/09/2010
VIC/L9 Tuna, Kipper Esso 50%* BHPP 50% 12/07/2016
VIC/L10, L11 Snapper, Flounder Esso 50%* BHPP 50% 28/05/2018
VIC/L13, L14 Bream Esso 50%* BHPP 50% 15/12/2006
VIC/L15, L16, Dolphin, Perch Esso 50%* BHPP 50% 13/06/2010
L17, L18 and Seahorse
VIC/L19 West Fortescue Esso 50%* BHPP 50% 12/07/2016
VIC/L20 Blackback Esso 50%* BHPP 50% 01/01/2019

Offshore
Exploration Tenement Expiry
Permits Holders Date
VIC/P40 Amity 10%* Latrobe Oil
& Gas 10% Pan Pacific 10%
Tri-C Resources 70% 13/05/2004
VIC/P41 Eagle Bay Resources 100%* 13/02/2005

6
VIC/P42 Bass Strait Oil 50%*
Inpex Alpha Ltd. 50% 13/01/2006
VIC/P45 BHPP 100%* 15/05/2006
VIC/P47 Eagle Bay Resources 100%* 27/05/2007

B VIC/P48
VIC/P49
Pan Canadian 100%*
Pan Canadian 100%*
16/10/2007
16/10/2007

Retention Tenement Expiry


Leases Field(s) Holders Date
VIC/RL1 Mulloway Esso 50%* BHPP 50% 13 04/2005
VIC/RL2 Kipper Esso 25%* Woodside 30%
BHPP 25% Crusader 12.95%
Santos 7.05% 14/12/2003
VIC/RL3 Sole Shell 45%* Mobil 30%
Santos 25% 13/04/2005
VIC/RL4 Sunfish Esso 50%* BHPP 50% 27/02/2006
VIC/RL5 Patricia / Baleen Basin Oil 55%* Cultus 5%
Diamond Gas Res. 40% 13/11/2001
VIC/RL6 Basker / Manta Woodside 76.47%*
News Corp 23.53% 29/10/2005
VIC/RL9 Manta Woodside 76.47%*
News Corp 23.53% 21/03/2006
VIC/RL10 Gummy Woodside 76.47%*
News Corp 23.53% 21/03/2006
VIC/RL1 (V) Golden Beach Bridge / Basin Oil 100% 24/07/2002

Onshore
Exploration Tenement Expiry
Permits Holders Date
PEP 155 Petrotech 100%* 28/08/2005
PEP 156 Petrotech 100%* 16/06/2005
PEP 157 Petrotech 100%* 16/06/2005
PEP 158 Petrotech 100%* 16/03/2005
PEP 162 Bass Petroleum 100%* 15/05/2006

* Indicates Operator of the tenement

36 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B6

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 37


38 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
Tectonic Framework and Evolution
The Gippsland Basin is at the eastern end of the major Late Jurassic to
Late Cretaceous rift system that formed the southern edge of the
Australian continent (Norvick & Smith, 2001). The basin is an asymmetrical
graben developed in response to the break-up of Australia and Antarctica
during the Early Cretaceous and the separation of Australia from the Lord
Howe Rise/Campbell Plateau in the Late Cretaceous (Rahmanian et al.,
1990). Clastic deposition continued at least until the Miocene. To the
east, the separation of the Lord Howe Rise in the Santonian significantly
affected the Basin. Terrestrial rift-fill of the Early Cretaceous Strzelecki
Group dominates the western, onshore, part of the basin. The eastern,
offshore, part has a much more complete and complex sedimentary record
and all of the economic hydrocarbon accumulations. Among the latest
work, Smith et al. (2000) and Bernecker et al. (2001) describe the
stratigraphy. Most studies have concentrated either on the offshore or the
onshore Gippsland Basin; Wilcox et al. (1992) was one of the few to
integrate both. A basement study by MPV provides one of the latest
structural evaluations, principally based on the potential field data acquired
by AGSO in 1999 integrated with gravity, seismic and other geological data
(Moore & Wong, 2001). The study shows that the Gippsland Basin can be
divided into three structural zones and confirms the asymmetrical nature of
the basin, which is deeper to the south. Hydrocarbon discoveries were
also observed to concentrate at the major north and south edges of the
deep (magnetic low). The simplified basement structural map derived from
this study can be seen in Moore and Wong (2001).
The fundamental basin architecture reflects the reaction to NNE-SSW
directed crustal extension, and is represented by the Northern and
Southern Platforms and Terraces, which are bounded by complex fault
systems. The Central Deep hosts the majority of the known discoveries
and is likely to extend to the Gippsland Rise in the east. The latter is a
prominent NE-SW trending tectonic element and was previously identified
on deep seismic and interpreted as a transform fault system, the Cape
Everard Fault System, that defines the eastern basin margin (Megallaa,
1993). Although the tectonic evolution of the basin is complex, three major
phases can be identified and these are explained in Figures B9 B10:
1 Early Cretaceous Extension. This produced the main rift, bounded by
the Lake Wellington, Foster and Cape Everard fault systems (Figure B9).
Non-marine, volcaniclastic-rich greywackes as well as mudstones and
minor coals of the Strzelecki Group filled this initial rift. The maximum
THE GIPPSLAND extent of these deposits is also highlighted in Figures B7 B9.

BASIN IS AT THE 2 Cenomanian to Early Campanian Tasman Sea Rift. The Cape Everard
Fault System acted as the major easterly control on the development of
EASTERN END OF thick rift-fill sequences (Latrobe Group) in the subsiding basin (Figure
B10). Rifting ceased by the Maastrichtian but the basin continued to
THE MAJOR LATE deepen due to sediment loading and thermal subsidence.
JURASSIC TO LATE 3 Early Eocene to Early Miocene Compression. During this phase, major
anticlines that trap many of the giant hydrocarbon accumulations were
CRETACEOUS RIFT generated through inversion of deep grabens and half-grabens.
Simultaneously, the northeastern part of the basin was uplifted and
SYSTEM THAT
normal faulting produced WNW-ESE striking fault trends, except where
FORMED THE influenced by deeper structural elements. Sea-level fluctuations, in
association with the uplift and inversion, led to major submarine
SOUTHERN EDGE OF channelling of the Latrobe Group.
THE AUSTRALIAN
CONTINENT

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 39


> Figure B7 Bouguer gravity image

The northern edge of the Gippsland Basin is marked by a strong east-west


high (magenta-red) across the north of the digital image (see also Figure
A3). This high is probably a response from the crustal thinning along the
basin edge and denser lithosphere emplacement. The prominent break
just east of 148OE is from the Buchan Rift, an Early Devonian mixed
volcanic and sedimentary sequence. The deep low (magenta and purple)
in the northwest corner of the image, is largely due to the low-density
mountain root present at depth.
South of the linear high the gravity response is much lower. The gradient
marks the northern bounding fault of the basin, the Lake Wellington Fault
System (see Figure B9). Generally it is a relatively simple fault, but in the
west the movement may have been taken up along northeasterly relays.
These could have been reactivations of older basement faults. This fault
system also marked the northern extent of the Strzelecki Group.
To the southwest, the southern edge of the basin is also marked by higher
responses. In the east, it is somewhat lower (green hues) from the

7
presence of the lower density Wilsons Promontory Granite and other
associated granites.
There are two distinct zones in the onshore part of basin. Along the coast,
the gravity response of the Gippsland Basin is simple - a low response that
B steps down to the south until reaching the southern bounding fault, the
Foster Fault System (about 146O20E 38O40S) (see also Figure B9).
These steps trend east-west.
In the west, the gravity responses are relatively high and the gravity trends
generally northeasterly. Both reflect the shallow underlying basement of
the Selwyn Block, the northern extension of the Tasmanian crust that was
cratonised at about 500 Ma. Near its eastern edge, the basement has
broken into a series of relatively narrow grabens, which show as gravity
lows. The Baragwanath Anticline (about 146O45E, 38O10S), in the
northern part of the basin, is the most prominent of these. It is cut off by a
DATA SOURCE:
fault that seems to continue northeast and then swing east, into the plane
The Bouguer Anomaly Gravity image of the fault that defines the northern edge of the Baragwanath Anticline.
of the onshore Gippsland Basin is
compiled from data provided by
Minerals and Petroleum Victoria
(MPV), Australian Geological Survey
Organisation (AGSO) and Australian
Land Information Group (AusLIG).

40 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B7

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 41


> Figure B8 Total magnetic intensity image

The Total Magnetic Intensity for the Gippsland Basin is shown as a digital
image in Figure B8.
Most of the magnetic responses in the region are from basement (pre-
Cretaceous) sources. Thus the magnetic data give valuable information
about the thickness of the Gippsland Basin sedimentary pile. East of
147OE, where the data quality is good, the Gippsland Basin is clearly visible
in the image of the magnetic data as the area of smooth texture.
The broad magnetic highs (red and yellow) in the centre of the image are
from magnetic bodies 7 km to 15 km deep, probably below the basin.
The intervening magnetic lows (purple and blue) reflect non-magnetic rocks
to at least 20 km, implying both non-magnetic Gippsland Basin sediments
and non-magnetic basement. Most of the oil and gas fields cluster along
the boundaries between the highs and lows, and seem to be related to the
deep basin structure.
Areas of Palaeozoic outcrop are visible as areas of rough texture. The north
to north-northeast magnetic fabric of the Lachlan Fold Belt (see also Figure A5)

8
is clearly defined by the elongation direction of the magnetic granites.
The northeast corner of the image shows many Palaeozoic magnetic dykes
with this trend. Those north of Deal Island (147OE 39O10S) and the
Patricia-Baleen Field (148O20E 38OS) (see also Figure B2) are probably
B younger, since depth to magnetic source calculations show they intrude
thin Gippsland Basin sediments. These may be related to the Turonian
opening of the Tasman Sea.
The northeastern part of the image shows several other dyke sets. The
west-northwesterly set is probably related to the very earliest stages of
Gippsland Basin rifting. An onshore example in the northwest gave an
Early Jurassic age. Flows from these dykes may have partly sourced the
large volcaniclastic component of the Strzelecki Group.
Dykes trending northeast are also prominent both on the northern and
DATA SOURCE: southern basin edges. Many are young, since they fill relatively young
The total magnetic intensity image of
(possibly Santonian) faults and intrude to shallow levels. One example is
the Gippsland Basin is compiled from just north of the Patricia-Baleen Field. The dyke looks distinctly sharper
data provided by Minerals and than the north-trending dyke that it crosses. The fault it intruded has an
Petroleum Victoria (MPV), Australian
apparent sinistral and north block-up displacement.
Geological Survey Organisation
(AGSO) and Australian Land East-west dykes are visible onshore, but are uncommon offshore, perhaps
Information Group (AusLIG).
in part because the offshore flight lines were east-west. This minimised
Bathymetric data is courtesy of AGSO
the chance of their responses being recorded.
The southeast corner of the image has quite a different, blebby,
magnetic character to that in the rest of the image. Similar patterns are
typical of flat-lying volcanic packages, and are common along the edges of
the Permo-Triassic Sydney-Bowen Basin complex, which almost certainly
extended just east of the region. The broad magnetic highs beneath the
Sole Field (149OE 38O05S) and east of the Blackback Field (148O30E
38O40S) may mark the edge of this package.
West of 147OE, the poorer data quality makes the image much more
difficult to interpret. Much of the rough textures are from Cretaceous and
Cainozoic basalt flows. Deeper Selwyn Block features (Figures A4 and
A5) mostly trend northeast.

42 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B8

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 43


> Figure B9 Structural elements

Early Cretaceous extension associated with Gondwana break-up is


preserved in the basins architecture and represented by the northern and
southern platforms and terraces, all of which are bounded by major E-W
trending fault systems. The extent of the major structural elements are
derived mainly from regional mapping in the onshore regions and seismic
data in the offshore, aided by interpretation of the magnetic and gravity
data. The proto-Gippsland Basin (rift-valley) is defined by the maximum
extent of the entirely non-marine Early Cretaceous Strzelecki Group, which
is exposed onshore in the uplifted and block-faulted Strzelecki Ranges
(Balook, Mardan and Narracan blocks).
The Seaspray Depression (see also Figure B7) rapidly shallows towards
the west and is the onshore extension of the Central Deep. The
hydrocarbon-bearing Latrobe Group is thickest offshore in the Central
Deep. The basins eastern margin is somewhat ill defined, but can be
delineated on the aeromagnetic image (Figure B8). A prominent NE-SW
trending magnetic basement high, the Gippsland Rise; bounded by the
Cape Everard Fault System, underlies the present-day Bass Canyon and is

9
interpreted to represent correlatives of the Permo-Triassic Sydney-Bowen
Basin (see Figure B8).
The southern basin boundary is less well defined than the northern, due

B mainly to more limited geophysical data (see Figure B3). The few wells
(Mudskipper-1, Mullet-1, Groper-1 and -2) on the Southern Platform (see
Figure B4) reached Palaeozoic basement below a thin upper Latrobe
Group sequence, but the total extent of the Latrobe Siliciclastics in this
southern region is uncertain.
Younger, post-rifting elements are characterised by two main structural
trends, only shown for the offshore part of the basin. The opening of the
Tasman Sea during the Turonian is represented by NW-SE structures while
the ensuing drift-phase is represented by NNW-SSE trends.
Compressional tectonism overprinted the basin from the Early Eocene to
Early Miocene. During this period, the major anticlines that trap many of the
giant hydrocarbon accumulations were generated. The northeastern part of
the basin was uplifted at this time and the deep, northeasterly trending
Strzelecki grabens and half-grabens were inverted. WNW-ESE striking
normal fault trends were established within the basin fill, many of which form
hydrocarbon traps (e.g. the Tuna, Flounder and Basker Manta fields).

44 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B9

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 45


Stratigraphy
The basic and most widely accepted published stratigraphic framework for
the offshore Gippsland Basin, first presented by James and Evans (1971),
has essentially remained unchanged for over 20 years. A wide variety of
stratigraphic names has been used to describe distinct sedimentary units,
many of which are laterally discontinuous. More recent industry work has
utilised correlations based on detailed biostratigraphic and seismic
sequence stratigraphic studies.
The generalised stratigraphy is summarised in Figure B10, which shows
major facies changes across the basin. These stratigraphic schemes are
based on early work such as James and Evans (1971), Rahmanian et al.
(1990) and Bohacs and Suter (1997). Smith et al. (2000), Bernecker et al.
(2001) and Bernecker and Partridge (2001) provide updated summaries of
the scheme. Essentially, the basin-fill can be subdivided into three groups:
1 The Strzelecki Group represents early syn-rift sedimentation and
unconformably overlies igneous and folded sedimentary rocks of
Palaeozoic age. The group consists of fluvial sediments, many of which
are characterised by interbedded lithic and high volcaniclastic content. The
volcanic debris originated from eruptive centres to the east, including the
Lord Howe Rise. Early rifting, associated with Gondwana break-up,
created an extensive braided stream system that carried material westward
along Australias southern margin. Towards the top of the succession,
coal-bearing flood plain deposits may contain some important source rock
intervals, while some of the fluvial channels may show reservoir
characteristics. The hydrocarbon potential of the equivalent Otway Group
in the Otway Basin has been extensively documented. The total thickness
of the Strzelecki Group is poorly defined, but is likely to exceed 3000 m.

46 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


2 The Latrobe Group hosts all currently known hydrocarbon
accumulations and therefore represents the most widely investigated
stratigraphic unit in the basin. Rift/drift movements associated with the
Tasman Sea opening principally controlled deposition. Although good
well control exists in many areas, the group still lacks a rigid
stratigraphic subdivision down to formation level. Many informal names
are in use, but there is no consensus as to how most of these individual
formations can be correlated across the basin. Relevant modifications
(Bernecker & Partridge, 2001) include the subdivision of the Latrobe
Group into three subgroups, the oldest of which is the Emperor
Subgroup, representing rift-valley lake deposition prior to the first
marine incursion. The Golden Beach Subgroup developed subsequent
to the opening of the Tasman Sea. It encompasses sediments that
were deposited partly in marginal marine environments in the eastern
part of the basin, partly as coastal plain and alluvial fan deposition in the
west and along the uplifted margins. The remainder of the Latrobe
Group belongs to the Latrobe Siliciclastics. These include various
channel sediments at the top, the premier reservoir facies commonly
referred to as the Coarse Clastics (composed mainly of offshore
barrier sandstones) and the transgressive Gurnard Formation, a
glauconitic sand/mudstone assemblage developed as a condensed
THE BASIC AND MOST section on the outer palaeo-shelf. Sedimentation during the entire
Latrobe Siliciclastics period was dominated by coastal plain, deltaic and
WIDELY ACCEPTED lagoonal processes, that resulted in the accumulation of viable
hydrocarbon source rocks, reservoirs and seals.
PUBLISHED
3 The Seaspray Group is a calcareous succession that comprises the
STRATIGRAPHIC marly Lakes Entrance Formation and the bioclast-rich Gippsland
FRAMEWORK FOR THE Limestone. The change from siliciclastic to carbonate deposition
represents a climate-induced change following the establishment of
OFFSHORE deep ocean currents south of Australia and may also be related to a
global increase in ocean temperature. The Seaspray Group forms the
GIPPSLAND BASIN regional seal to the Top Latrobe hydrocarbon pools in the basin and is
fully marine in the offshore where it consists of fine-grained calcareous
HAS ESSENTIALLY
mudstones, marls as well as fossiliferous limestones.
REMAINED
UNCHANGED FOR
OVER 20 YEARS

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 47


> Figure B10 Stratigraphy and petroleum systems elements

The sediment-fill of the Gippsland Basin is most appropriately subdivided


into three groups, according to main depositional facies regimes. Fluvial
sediments that commonly contain volcaniclastic components dominate the
Strzelecki Group. Although frequently regarded as economic basement,
widespread floodplain deposits in the younger portion of the group may
actually include significant source rock intervals.
The Latrobe Group hosts all currently known hydrocarbon accumulations.
Most exploration efforts have traditionally been directed towards the upper
Coarse Clastics, a diachronous transgressive interval represented by
highly porous and permeable offshore barrier sandstones. Oil and gas
from this reservoir-system are being produced from the Barracouta,
Snapper, Tuna, Marlin, Bream and Kingfish fields. Additional discoveries,
such as West-Tuna, are related to coastal plain/deltaic facies assemblages
repeatedly developed in the Latrobe Siliciclastics. Significant hydrocarbon
quantities are also produced from the channel-fill facies (e.g. Turrum) of
submarine canyons that were generated during substantial shelf erosion.
Minor gas accumulations are contained within the thin Gurnard Formation,

10
overlying the Coarse Clastics in many parts of the basin. In recent
years, exploration has ventured into deeper stratigraphic levels and
successfully tapped into the Golden Beach/Emperor subgroups.
The Archer and Anemone discoveries have demonstrated that identical
B petroleum system elements, as identified in the Latrobe Siliciclastics,
are present in the Golden Beach Subgroup. The multiple stacked
reservoir/seal successions are characteristic for coastal plain palaeo-
environments. A particular case is the Kipper Field, where gas-bearing
non-marine sandstone reservoirs are partly sealed by younger volcanics,
partly by up-thrown older lacustrine shales of the Emperor Subgroup.
The Kipper Field hosts the basins largest gas-column, locally 290 m.
The Seaspray Group is a carbonate dominated mega-sequence and the
basal Lakes Entrance Formation forms a regional seal across the basin.
The group also provides critical amounts of overburden, (1 km thick near
the basin margins, up to 3 km thick in the Central Deep) needed for
source rock maturation. The complex system of mid-Miocene channels is
the cause for seismic velocity anomalies within the Seaspray Group and
frequently obscure target structures within the underlying Latrobe Group.
Hydrocarbon migration and accumulation in the Gippsland Basin is very
strongly influenced by tectonic processes. Most source rocks were
exposed to increased subsurface temperatures during the major phase of
basin subsidence following the rifting period that was associated with
Gondwana break-up. It is likely that a first phase of hydrocarbon expulsion
from source rocks occurred during maximum subsidence. Ongoing
fragmentation of the basin created extensive fault systems, parts of which
acted as conduits for hydrocarbons. The main traps were formed during
episodes of compressive tectonism, resulting in fault-inversion and
development of suitable fold-structures. Sediments in the Central Deep
reached maximum burial depth by the end of the Tertiary and most
reservoirs have been charged in recent times. Hydrocarbon migration is
believed to be still ongoing.

48 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B10

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 49


50 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
Seismic interpretation and mapping
Five seismic horizons were interpreted:
Top Strzelecki Group
Top Emperor Subgroup
Top Golden Beach Subgroup
Top Latrobe Group
Top Lakes Entrance Formation.
The Top Emperor Subgroup has not been mapped regionally. Seismic
interpretation at this level is very problematic, particularly in the centre of the
basin, where there is no deep well control.
The horizon maps were produced using Petrosys Mapping software. Horizon
data were largely derived from seismic interpretation of the Esso/BHPP G92A
regional well-tie survey, the GDW99 deepwater survey and other data,
including some BMR late 1980's regional surveys. Horizons were picked
based on seismic character and constrained by well control. Based on well
data, time horizon values were used to calculate depth values, applying the
following average constant velocities:
Sea-water 1480 m/sec
Seaspray Group 2800 m/sec
Latrobe Group 3400 m/sec
Golden Beach/Emperor subgroups 3900 m/sec
Strzelecki Group 3900 m/sec

Depths to the respective horizons were gridded on a 100 m x 100 m


spacing and are displayed as sun-shaded colour grids.
In general, the Gippsland Basin is asymmetrical and follows an ESE trend.
It is underlain by Palaeozoic magmatic and metamorphic rocks and formed
during crustal extension in the Late Mesozoic. Although most of the
seismic records extend down to 6 seconds TWT, the exact nature of the
Palaeozoic basement reflector remains obscure in the deeper parts of the
ALTHOUGH MOST basin. However, weak sub-horizontal reflectors, developed below the
OF THE SEISMIC interpreted base of Strzelecki Group in the deepest part of the Bass
Canyon could possibly represent Permo-Triassic sedimentary rocks.
RECORDS EXTEND
DOWN TO 6
SECONDS TWT, THE
EXACT NATURE OF
THE PALAEOZOIC
BASEMENT
REFLECTOR
REMAINS OBSCURE

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 51


> Figure B11 Top Strzelecki Group structure

The Top Strzelecki Group horizon, can only be reliably mapped near the
northern margin of the basin and in the eastern part of the basin, where
the Early Cretaceous sediments are covered by only a thin veneer of
younger deposits. The overall seismic character of the group is one of thin
parallel to sub-parallel discontinuous reflectors, representing the
characteristic lithological changes within a complex fluvial system.
The Strzelecki Group is usually fault bounded and shows occasional listric
growth fault geometry. The Top Strzelecki Group horizon is commonly
represented by a pronounced angular unconformity, easily identified on the
terraces; however, in many parts of the basin a conformable relationship to
younger strata exists and careful evaluation of appropriate 3D seismic data
is required to accurately map this horizon.
The Strzelecki Group extends from San Remo, Phillip Island onshore in the
west to the terraces offshore and eastwards as far as the Gippsland Rise.
The sequence is more than 3000 m thick within the central part of the
basin (Central Deep) and in troughs (possible grabens and half-grabens)
in the northern part of the basin. This volcaniclastic unit is absent from

11
the Southern Platform (Colwell & Wilcox, 1993).

52 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B11

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 53


> Figure B12 Top Golden Beach Subgroup structure

The Top Golden Beach Subgroup horizon is similarly difficult to pick,


particularly in the major depocentres. The unit is mostly confined to the
Central Deep but extends onto the Southern Strzelecki Terrace and
Southern Platform in the southeast (Bernecker & Partridge, 2001). In the
eastern deep-water area, the subgroup is largely restricted to the Eastern
Graben, an extension of the Central Deep. In this southeastern part of the
basin, it occurs as a thinning distal marine unit over the uplifted Southeast
Strzelecki Graben System (Smith et al., 2000). Thin intervals of Golden
Beach Subgroup probably partially filled the Southern and Northern
grabens of the Gippsland Rise during this time (see Figure B9).
Overall, a broad synclinal character is evident, with a southeasterly plunge.
Significant deeps are evident bordered by the main oil and gas fields in
the west, while the Anemone Syncline is evident in the southeast.
There are other deeps beneath Volador (Vo) and east of Blackback (Bb).

12
B

54 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B12

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 55


> Figure B13 Top Latrobe Group structure

The top-Latrobe Group horizon is picked on a prominent unconformity


surface marking the boundary between marine and non-marine siliciclastics
and calcareous sediments of the Seaspray Group. In the eastern deep-
water areas, the horizon is sometimes obscure and difficult to pick
because the lithological changes are less pronounced.
Significant anticlinal structures define the Barracouta (Ba), Kingfish (Kf),
Bream (Br), Marlin (Ma) and Fortescue-Halibut (Fh) fields. A regional high
trend across the Central Deep extends from the Bream Field to Snapper.
However individual closures such as those of Salmon and Veilfin (SV) have
been found to be invalid due to the presence of high sonic velocities in the
overlying Tertiary carbonate filled channels (Feary & Loutit, 1998; Holdgate
et al., 2000).
In the east, the Blackback (Bb) structure is prominent. An arcuate
inverted anticline is evident paralleling the coastline from Perch (Pe) in the
southwest, through Tarwhine (Ta) and Barracouta to Snapper (Sn) in the
northeast. The anticline is identified on seismic where it shows normal

13
displacement at the top Strzelecki Group level but reversal related to
compression at the Top Latrobe Group. These inversion trends appear to
have been controlled by faults in the Strzelecki Group and possibly
deeper basement.

56 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B13

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 57


> Figure B14 Near Top Lakes Entrance Formation structure

The Top Lakes Entrance Formation has been picked where there is a clear
strong seismic marker, most likely representing a maximum flooding
surface. The Lakes Entrance Formations seismic character is relatively
bland and uniform, composed of generally low amplitude parallel seismic
reflectors that are characteristic of uniform deep marine sediments.
Onshore, the western limit of the Lakes Entrance Formation is based on
Constantine (2001), while in the eastern deep-water area of the Bass
Canyon, the eastern limit is mapped as the subcrop of the horizon with the
seabed. The map shows two significant monoclinal trends. The first
oriented east-west and marked by a strong southerly dip, extends from
south of Snapper (Sn) through Basker/Manta (BM) to Shark-1 (Sh).
The second is oriented northwest-southeast from north of the Bream Field
through Kingfish to Pisces-1. This feature appears to be depositional,
controlled by progradational clinoforms within the Lakes Entrance
Formation (see Figure B16).

14
B

58 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B14

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 59


> Figure B15 Seismic strike section

This seismic section is an east-west composite time migrated section, oriented


parallel to the axis of the basin from near the Ninety Mile Beach in the west to
beyond the Gippsland Rise in the east. The section shows two major
structural provinces indicated by two depocentres; a western depocentre
(Central Deep in Figure B9) and an Eastern Graben depocentre, between the
shelf-break and the Gippsland Rise. The basement high (southern edge of the
Gippsland Rise) in the east marks the eastern limit of the Gippsland Basin, and
is also the easternmost extent of the Strzelecki Group. It is interpreted that
the Gippsland Rise emerged during the Late Cretaceous coinciding with the
deposition of the Emperor and Golden Beach subgroups in the Eastern Graben
depocentre (Moore & Wong, 2001).
The stratigraphic succession has been subdivided into the three major
unconformity bounded sequences. These sequences in descending order are
the Seaspray Group, the Latrobe Group and the Strzelecki Group (see also
Figure B10). The interpreted horizons, which are well constrained by down-
hole data are the Top Lakes Entrance Formation, Top Latrobe Group and Top
Golden Beach Subgroup. The Top Emperor Subgroup and the Top Strzelecki

15
Group picks are somewhat arbitrary over much of the section, while identifying
basement is also problematic. However, the interpretation of regional
magnetic data (Moore & Wong, 2001) shows that Palaeozoic metasediments
constitute basement west of the present day shelf break. The shelf break /
B slope is marked by Devonian granites and Mesozoic intrusives. In the east, a
suite of possible Permo-Triassic sedimentary and volcanic rocks overlies the
Palaeozoic basement (Moore & Wong, 2001). The easternmost end of the
section shows probable oceanic crust overlain by bathyal sediments.
The thickest part of the synrift Strzelecki Group is preserved in the western
depocentre. Although its base is difficult to pick, it is estimated on this section
to be at least 3 seconds (TWT). The large thickness variations of the Emperor
and the Golden Beach Subgroups reflect tectonically controlled deposition
from the uplifted basin margins. The Latrobe Siliciclastics clearly dip westward
in the area west of about Helios-1. Here the Top Latrobe reservoirs that host
the hydrocarbon accumulations at Kingfish, Halibut, Mackerel, Cobia and
Fortescue young towards the west, being truncated by the erosional
unconformity at the top of the Latrobe Group (Rahmanian et al., 1990).
There is no clear evidence of easterly prograding of the Latrobe Siliciclastics
towards the Eastern Graben depocentre on this section but progrades in
interpreted Golden Beach and Latrobe Siliciclastics are evident on other
seismic lines in the eastern part of the basin (Smith et al., 2000).
The Seaspray Group is thickest in the western depocentre but thins westward
and also eastward into the deepwater area towards the Gippsland Rise.

60 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B15

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 61


> Figure B16 Seismic dip section

This is a NE-SW composite time migrated section, crossing the axis of the
western depocentre (Central Deep) from Tarra-1/Omeo-1 in the Southern
Strzelecki Terrace area to Baleen-1 on the Northern Platform. The Central
Deep (see Figure B9) on this section is situated between Omeo-1 in the
south and Sunfish in the north. One prominent feature of the section is
that the basin deepens toward the south forming an asymmetric shape of a
half-graben, due in part to the influence of the different basement blocks
and their structural histories (Moore & Wong, 2001).
The Foster Fault System has long been recognised as forming the
southern margin of the basin. The Strzelecki Group thickens towards the
Foster Fault System. On the terraces, the Strzelecki sediments are
characterised by parallel to sub-parallel continuous reflectors but in the
Central Deep, the Strzelecki reflectors are more chaotic. As in Figure
B15, the three major stratigraphic sequences can be recognised. All the
major sequences are constrained by well data on the terraces, while
picking of the tops for the Strzelecki Group, the Emperor and Golden
Beach subgroups within the Central Deep is arbitrary. The southern

16
margin is underlain by a granitic basement, of Devonian age while the
northern margin is interpreted to be underlain by similar Ordovician/Silurian
metasediments that outcrop onshore Victoria.

B Northeast of the Marlin and Turrum fields the top of the Latrobe Group is
evident as a strong erosional surface related partly to the development of
the submarine Marlin Channel system in the Eocene. The Marlin Channel
and the later Oligocene Lakes Entrance Formation are characterised by a
bland seismic character representing marine shales and marls. Within the
Seaspray Group, the mid-Miocene channel system is prominent in the
Veilfin-1 and Salmon-1 area in the south and between Turrum-5 and
Sunfish-2 in the north. This channel system causes problems with seismic
depth conversion, particularly around the Veilfin-Conger area in the Central
Deep, where velocity pull-ups are evident.

62 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B16

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 63


64 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
Geological Cross-Sections
In the following three cross-sections the depositional facies distribution
is shown for the Latrobe Group, while the Palaeozoic basement and
the Strzelecki Group are delineated as undifferentiated stratigraphic
units. The Seaspray Group is represented by the Lakes Entrance
Formation and Gippsland Limestone.
Depositional facies associations were outlined using well control and,
where possible, the interpretation of seismic character. Otherwise,
much of the deeper sections is inferred. Only the dominant facies
regime is represented, therefore some facies may be generalised or
overlap with others. For instance, a lagoonal facies may be part of the
lower coastal plain or the shallow marine environment. The difference
between lower and upper coastal plain reflects the relative abundance
or lack of coal seams, while upper coastal plain sediments generally
comprise a greater proportion of fine-grained material than alluvial
plain/fan sediments. However, the transition between the latter two is
gradational.
All major stratigraphic boundaries are represented by unconformities,
although it is uncertain whether a conformable contact exists between
the Emperor and Golden Beach subgroups in the central and eastern
part of the basin. An unconformable boundary between the Golden
Beach Subgroup and the Latrobe Siliciclastics is assumed, because of
the widespread occurrence of extrusive volcanics at that marker,
signalling that these correspond to a time of tectonic activity.
Because of the relatively small vertical scale, the Gurnard Formation is
not shown, but is treated as part of the shallow marine facies
immediately below the Top Latrobe unconformity.

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 65


> Figure B17 NW-SE axial geological cross-section

This section-line was chosen to demonstrate, firstly, the eastward depth-


increase of the Top Latrobe horizon, and secondly, the lateral facies
change from alluvial fan, coastal plain to marine environments. The section
highlights the overall transgressive nature of the basin-fill; also shown is
the shelf break.
It is unclear whether the Emperor Subgroup was deposited within one
continuous, narrow rift-valley lake system or if a number of lakes existed in
the Gippsland Basin. Well control on the northern margin indicates the
presence of a very thick lacustrine facies (Kipper Shale) that is
associated with alluvial and coastal plain sediments.
Shallow and open marine sediments dominate the eastern part of the basin
during Golden Beach Subgroup time; they grade laterally into non-marine
sediments deposited in coastal and alluvial plain environments. This trend
continues during deposition of the Latrobe Siliciclastics, which are
characterised by laterally extensive lower coastal plain sediments in the
centre of the basin.

17
The shelf break is steepest where incised by the Bass Canyon
(see Figure B2), elsewhere the continental slope angle is smaller than 6.

66 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B17

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 67


> Figure B18 NE-SW proximal geological cross-section

This section line was selected to show the Latrobe Group facies
associations in the western part of the Gippsland Basin.
The cross-section emphasises that the entire Latrobe Group is dominated
by non-marine sediments in the western part of basin. Here, marine
conditions were not established until N. asperus time, when the Coarse
Clastics were deposited in near-shore environments.
Biostratigraphic control in the Perch/Palmer area is relatively poor and it is
possible that the Emperor Subgroup extends further west onto the
Southern Terrace. Accordingly, that fault block would contain a much
thinner Strzelecki Group. Well control and biostratigraphy in the Sweetlips
area suggests that the Emperor Subgroup is represented by alluvial
plain/fan sediments on the Northern Terrace.

18 B

68 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B18

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 69


> Figure B19 NE-SW distal geological cross-section

This section shows the Latrobe Group facies associations in the eastern
part of the basin. The line of section straddles the modern shelf margin
and shows that the facies assemblages differ between the northern and
southern basin margin. The reason for this is a more pronounced tectonic
uplift of the northern margin that created a series of northerly dipping half-
grabens along a hinge-line represented by the Rosedale Fault System.
The graben features were filled with thick lacustrine sediments of the
Emperor Subgroup. Further movement along the hinge resulted in the
development of several alluvial fans (marginal facies of the Golden Beach
Subgroup) one of which was intersected by Hammerhead-1.
The southern margin experienced less drastic uplift, but also provided
erosional material to the basin. The early synrift tectonism created the
Pisces Sub-basin that rapidly became dominated by a marine depositional
regime, while the northern basin terrace remained under a terrestrial
regime until the Late Eocene.
The Latrobe Group exceeds thicknesses of 4 km in the basin centre,

19
where the alternation between marine and terrestrial sedimentation is
recorded in numerous wells. However, the overview scale in these
cross-sections cannot show these rapid facies changes.

70 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B19

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 71


The Latrobe Petroleum System
The Latrobe Group source, reservoir and seal rocks occur in a variety of
stratigraphic units, the regional correlation of which is often problematic.
Esso, the major operator in the basin, has extensively evaluated the
Latrobe Group, using a sequence stratigraphic approach based on a
comprehensive well database integrated with regional seismic sequence
stratigraphic studies (Mebberson, 1989; Rahmanian et al., 1990; Moore,
1997). Later exploration companies, such as Shell (Featherstone et al.,
1991) and Petrofina (Duff et al., 1991) have also used sequence
stratigraphic schemes to help predict source, reservoir and seal facies.
Partridge (1999) in his PhD thesis, addressed many of the stratigraphic
problems in the basin and proposed a finer-tuned stratigraphic model for
the older part of the Latrobe Group. The former Golden Beach Group
(Lowry & Longley, 1991) has been subdivided into two subgroups (see
Figure B10). Partridge concluded from palynological analyses that a
depositional hiatus, spanning the Coniacian, is developed across the
basin separating the synrift Emperor Subgroup from the drift phase
Golden Beach Subgroup (Partridge, 1996). The tectonic setting,
depositional characteristics and exploration play potential of the Emperor
and Golden Beach Subgroups are extensively discussed in Bernecker &
Partridge, 2001.
The Emperor Subgroup was deposited in a system of narrow and deep
rift-valley lakes developed along Australias southern margin during the
early Late Cretaceous (P. mawsonii biozone). The overall depositional
system included coarse-grained alluvial fan and fluvial deposits, delivered
from the uplifted basin margins, as well as extensive mud-dominated
lacustrine sediments (Kipper Shale) in the basin centre. This facies
assemblage constitutes the Emperor Subgroup and has only been
penetrated on the Northern Terrace (Partridge & Macphail, 1996). The
subgroup is not known to host any commercial hydrocarbon
accumulations, but oil and gas-shows were identified in sandy intervals
within the lacustrine succession in Kipper-1.
After a depositional hiatus from the latest Turonian until the earliest
Santonian (Partridge, 1996, 1997c), deposition resumed as a
consequence of renewed tectonic activity. These deposits comprise
sandstones and shales of the Golden Beach Subgroup reflecting non-
marine to open marine environments. The subgroup is mostly confined
to the Central Deep and is not known to extend to the north of the
Rosedale or south of the Foster Fault systems. The stratigraphy of the
Golden Beach Subgroup is constrained by well control near the modern
shelf edge. Additional stratigraphic constraints are provided by
aeromagnetic and the GDW99 seismic datasets. A distinct intra-
Campanian (80 Ma) unconformity, which is associated with volcanism
(Lowry & Longley, 1991), marks the termination of Golden Beach
sedimentation.
The third subgroup of the Latrobe Group, the Latrobe Siliciclastics, is
characterised by strata deposited during a major drift-phase and widening
of the basin. Essos sequence stratigraphic approach has enabled the

72 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


prediction of reservoir and seal through the basin. Esso conclude that in
the western dominantly non-marine part of the Latrobe Group, the
presence of sealing units is the major risk (Rahmanian et al., 1990).
Although the dominant facies regimes in the Latrobe Siliciclastics are
similar to the older Golden Beach Subgroup (see also Figures B10 and
B12) marine incursions extended progressively across the Central Deep
and further west in retrogradational stacking patterns (Moore, 1997).
Coarse-grained, non-marine clastic material, initially confined to the basin
margins, was transported by rivers onto broad coastal plains and onto
the shelf via coastal plain / deltaic systems, where barrier bar systems
similar to the present day Gippsland coastal environments were
established. From the Early Eocene onwards, shelf erosion, submarine
canyon cutting and channel-fill processes strongly influenced
sedimentation in the eastern part of the basin.

SOURCE ROCKS, MATURITY AND BURIAL HISTORY


It is now widely accepted that the coal measures of the non-marine
Latrobe Group have generated oil (Brooks & Smith, 1969) and that the
bulk of the hydrocarbons in the Gippsland Basin are derived from coals
and related carbonaceous source rocks (Moore et al., 1992). The deep
Volador-1 well (4611m TD) provides one of the best data sets on the
currently generative Latrobe Group sequence (Stainforth, 1984). The
geochemical profiles of these lower coastal plain source rocks show an
excellent correlation between source characteristics and non-degraded
oils found in the area. The predominant range of corresponding source
IT IS NOW WIDELY rock/oil maturity levels is between RV 0.92 and 1.0%. This agrees well
with the findings of Burns et al. (1984; 1987), who derived maturity
ACCEPTED THAT values for Gippsland oils using the Methylphenanthrene index of Radke
and Welte (1983), which indicates a range of RV 0.91.16% for most
THE COAL
Gippsland crude oils (Clark & Thomas, 1988). Burial history studies by
MEASURES OF Esso indicate that migration must have occurred from Upper Cretaceous
source rocks below a depth of 4500 m (Rahmanian et al., 1990). Clark
THE LATROBE & Thomas (1988) also conclude that the main phase of generation and
GROUP HAVE expulsion from intra-Latrobe source rocks occurs at depths of 4 km
to 5 km for oil and 5 km to 6 km for gas in the northeastern part of the
GENERATED OIL Central Deep.

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 73


The best oil-source correlation relates to carbonaceous shales (less
than 20% TOC) of the Upper Cretaceous Latrobe Group, rather than
the associated coals (Alexander et al., 1983). These shales are
developed best in coaly lower coastal plain sequences (Clark & Thomas,
1988). The distribution of lower coastal plain source rock sediments in
the Latrobe Siliciclastics is moderately well understood. Very similar
lower coastal plain facies intervals are also developed in the Golden
Beach and Emperor subgroups. The distribution of these potential
source rocks is less well defined, due to limited well control, and their
contribution to the major accumulations is largely unknown. Other
lacustrine and marine shale intervals and facies associations in the
Emperor Subgroup, Golden Beach Subgroup and Latrobe Siliciclastics
may also have source potential, but are mostly identified as poorer
quality gas sources. However Gorter (2001), concludes that
condensate recovered from the Anemone-1A well in the southeastern
part of the basin has biomarker evidence of significant contribution from
marine organic matter. The palaeogeographic interpretation of the
Golden Beach Subgroup by Bernecker et al. (2001) also suggests that
source rock distribution for this interval may extend significantly further
east than previously envisaged.
Secondary migration of hydrocarbons in the basin is believed to be
largely through large scale vertical migration along faults, although
significant lateral migration can also be demonstrated by the occurrence
of several small accumulations on the Northern Platform, such as the
Leatherjacket Field and the onshore Lakes Entrance Field.
The critical factor controlling hydrocarbon charge (particularly late
charge) is the development of a thick Tertiary carbonate wedge,
sufficient to put the Latrobe Siliciclastics and Golden Beach Subgroup
well into the oil window (Bernecker et al., 2001). To illustrate source
rock burial history and maturation in the eastern part of the offshore
basin, where the best remaining potential may be found, the burial
history and maturation profiles of two wells, Anemone-1A and Volador-1,
are depicted in Figures B20 and B21 (Smith et al., 2000; Duddy,
2000a).
In the Seaspray Depression, burial history and geochemical modelling
suggest that the Early Cretaceous Strzelecki Group rather than the
Latrobe Group is the source for the onshore hydrocarbon shows.

74 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 75
> Figure B20 Anemone-1A, Source rock maturity and burial history

Burial history and source rock modelling at the Anemone-1A location is


illustrated in Figure B20.
BASIC DATA: Vitrinite reflectance (VR) results (B) show no evidence that
the drilled section has been exposed to palaeo-temperatures higher than
present temperatures at any time since deposition. Based on apatite
fission track analysis (AFTA) results a gradient of ~25C/km is used rather
than the present-day thermal gradient (Duddy, 2000a).
BURIAL HISTORY: The burial history (A) is based on the preserved
stratigraphy in the well and extended below TD based on seismic
interpretation. It is assumed that no significant uplift and erosion episodes
have occurred. The burial history plot also shows superimposed maturity
windows derived from the thermal history in (C).
THERMAL HISTORY: The assumed thermal history involves a gradient of
25C/km at 135 Ma increasing progressively to a maximum value of
50C/km at 95 Ma, then decreasing linearly to 25C/km at 80 Ma and
maintaining this level through to the present day. The resulting thermal

20
history for key stratigraphic units is shown (C).
SOURCE ROCK MATURATION AND HYDROCARBON GENERATION
HISTORY: The generation of "in situ oil" from an assumed Type II source rock

B is shown in (D) for all the key stratigraphic horizons in the well. Note that the
Strzelecki Group has been divided arbitrarily into a number of units of equal
thickness (~ 400 to 600 m) in order to better illustrate the variation in timing of
active hydrocarbon generation within this thick unit. (The horizontal line at 175
mg/g TOC represents 50% oil generation from the assumed Type II).
The deeper parts of the Strzelecki Group (Strz 4 & Strz 3) begin
generation in the earliest Tertiary while the upper 500 m generates all of its
oil potential over the last ~25 Ma (Miocene to Recent). The Emperor
Subgroup begins generating at ~25 Ma exhausting ~75% of its potential
by the present-day. The Golden Beach Subgroup generates over the
same period, but exhausts less than ~30% of its potential by the present-
day. No generation has occurred from the younger Latrobe Siliciclastics (=
Latrobe Group in D) due to insufficient heating.
The results indicate the importance of the older Latrobe units as
hydrocarbon source rocks (Golden Beach and Emperor subgroups in
particular) in the southeastern part of the basin. Here the thermal gradient
is relatively low compared to elsewhere in the basin (Bernecker et al.,
2001). A further factor to be considered is the possibility of marine source
rocks in this part of the sequence (Gorter, 2001). Future studies will
require more detailed evaluation of source rock type and modelling using
kinetics applicable to the specific source rocks present, rather than the
presently assumed Type II source rock.
A: Burial history plot showing source rock maturation windows based on VR.
B: Maturity profile predicted from thermal history in C showing measured VR.
C: Reconstructed thermal history based on present-day geothermal
gradient and regional AFTA and VR results.
D: Hydrocarbon generation for a Type II source rock showing in-situ oil
generation versus time.

76 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B20

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 77


> Figure B21 Volador-1, Source rock maturity and burial history

Burial history and source rock modelling at the Volador-1 location is illustrated in
Figure B21.
BASIC DATA: VR results (B) show no evidence that the well section has been
exposed to palaeo-temperatures higher than present temperatures at any time
since deposition. A present-day geothermal gradient of 36.7C/km was
calculated from the corrected BHT data (Duddy, 2000a).
BURIAL HISTORY: As in Figure B20, the burial history (A) is based on the
preserved stratigraphy but extended below TD based on seismic interpretation
(i.e. no significant uplift and erosion). The burial history plot also shows
superimposed maturity windows derived from the thermal history in (C).
THERMAL HISTORY: The assumed history involves a gradient of 36.7C/km
at 135 Ma increasing progressively to a maximum value of 60C/km at 95 Ma,
decreasing linearly to 36.7C/km at 80 Ma and maintaining this level through to
the present day. The resulting thermal history for key stratigraphic units is
shown in (C).
SOURCE ROCK MATURATION AND HYDROCARBON GENERATION

21
HISTORY: The generation of in situ oil versus time, from an assumed Type
II source rock is illustrated in (D) for all key stratigraphic horizons in Volador-1,
based on the thermal history shown in (C). Note that the Golden Beach and
Emperor subgroups have been divided arbitrarily into a number of units of
B equal thickness (~ 400 to 600 m) in order to better illustrate the variation in
timing of active hydrocarbon generation within these units. The horizontal line
at 175 mg/g TOC represents 50% oil generation from the assumed Type II
source rock.
The upper 500 m of the Strzelecki Group begins generation in the mid-
Cretaceous (~85 Ma) and is totally exhausted around 7 Ma. The in situ
oil is rapidly cracked to gas, with completion by about 65 Ma. The
deepest unit of the Emperor Subgroup (Emp 2) begins generation in the
Late Cretaceous (~80 Ma) and undergoes rapid generation to completion
by about 70 Ma, with complete cracking to gas between 70 and ~30 Ma.
The uppermost Emperor Subgroup (P. mawsonii) begins generation ~80
Ma and undergoes rapid generation to completion by about 65 Ma.
Between 65 and ~20 Ma slow, progressive cracking to gas occurs, with
complete cracking occurring rapidly between 20 and ~10 Ma. The deepest
unit of the Golden Beach Subgroup (GB 4) begins generation ~70 Ma and
undergoes rapid generation to near completion by about 60 Ma, with very
slow generation of remaining oil potential between 60 and 20 Ma. Rapid
cracking to gas occurs between 20 and 10 Ma. GB 3 begins generation at
~65 Ma and undergoes relatively slow generation to completion by ~10
Ma with cracking to gas between 10 Ma and 5 Ma . GB 2 begins
generation at ~60 Ma and undergoes slow generation to about 25%
potential by 10 Ma then proceeds rapidly to completion by ~10 Ma
followed by cracking to gas. The uppermost unit of the Golden Beach
Subgroup (N. senectus) does not begin significant generation of in situ
oil until the late Tertiary (~10 Ma) but then is rapidly exhausted at the
present-day. The T. lilliei Latrobe Group undergoes rapid generation
between 10 Ma and the present-day reaching effective total exhaustion of
the oil potential. The F. longus unit rapidly generates approximately 70% of
its potential over about the last 5 Ma.
Refer to key on page 76.

78 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B21

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 79


80 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
RESERVOIR ROCK DISTRIBUTION AND QUALITY
Depth, depositional facies, thermal maturity and mineralogy are assumed
to be the prime control of reservoir qualities. However, anomalous
porosity/depth relationships are common in the basin as have been
documented in Archer/Anemone (Smith, 1999) and Shark-1 (Smith et al.,
2000). Most of the early exploration wells in the Gippsland Basin were
mainly targeted at the Top Latrobe Coarse Clastics reservoirs. These
reservoirs have been extensively studied throughout the basin and are
known to be of excellent quality, hosting most of the reserves discovered
to date (Moore et al., 1992).
The Top Latrobe Coarse Clastics have porosity over 20% and permeability
greater than 5 darcies in the Halibut, Cobia and Fortescue fields (Hinton, et
al., 1994); porosity up to 22% and permeability up to 4.8 darcies in
Kingfish (Mudge & Curry, 1992); while Cousins (1995) reported an average
porosity of 22% with permeability up to 10 darcies in the Mackerel field.
Deeper intra-Latrobe Group reservoirs also form an important reservoir
target in the basin. At Bream-5, the Lower L. balmei zone consists of a
sequence of backswamp and overbank shales and coals with only thin
channel sands of fairly limited extent. It is within this interval that the
majority of the intra-Latrobe Group hydrocarbon indications are found. The
upper part of this sequence is marked by a significant facies change, with
thick massive channel sandstones and only relatively minor coals and
shales, being present in the Upper L. balmei zone. The Latrobe
Siliciclastics at Veilfin-1 located in the Central Deep, in particular between
2116 to 2346 mKB, comprises interbedded fining upward sandstones,
shales and coals, interpreted as point bar units deposited in a coastal plain
to flood plain environment (Wong & Bernecker, 2001). Below this to TD
(3521 mKB), the sediments are similar but individual sandstone intervals
are much thinner and quite poorly developed. Porosity within the intra-
Latrobe was analysed from wireline logs by MIM Petroleum (1995) to
range from 12.3% to 14.5%.
A review by Hinton et al. (1994) of the Halibut, Cobia and Fortescue core
data from the Latrobe Group Coarse Clastics indicates that the major
reservoirs at these fields represent braided fluvial facies. Stacked, very
coarse- to coarse-grained, cross-bedded, fining upward, and braided
channel deposits were described. Reservoirs of lower porosity (less than
DEPTH, 14%) were also interpreted and these were fine- to medium-grained, lower
shoreface deposits or thin, coarse-grained, fluvial channel deposits within
DEPOSITIONAL marsh/lagoonal coastal plain settings. Smith et al., (2000) reported that an
FACIES, THERMAL average porosity value of 15% or greater is interpreted down to 4000 m
subsea in the deep-water for clean reservoir sandstones. They believed
MATURITY AND that this level corresponds to a thermal maturity value of 0.85 to 0.9% RV
and applies to the cleaner sandstones of the Latrobe Siliciclastics and
MINERALOGY ARE Golden Beach Subgroup in the eastern Gippsland Basin.
THE PRIME
CONTROL OF
RESERVOIR
QUALITY

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 81


> Figure B22 Porosity and thermal maturity versus depth

Smith et al. (2000) reported on the reservoir qualities of the Latrobe


Petroleum System in the eastern part of the basin. Reservoir quality was
evaluated using porosity data from seven wells located in that part of the
basin, in order to understand the variability of porosity/depth relationships
identified. Porosity variations were summarised and averaged over broad
intervals based on a generalised threefold facies subdivision that is easily
recognised in these wells. The depositional facies assemblages identified
were:-shallow marine/shoreface, lower coastal plain and upper coastal
plain. Thermal maturity data were also used in the evaluation.
Porosity/depth (average interval depth) relationships for the seven wells
are shown in the Porosity versus Depth Chart. Anomalous trends occur in
Shark-1 where porosities decrease dramatically below 2300 m, and in
Anemone-1A where an unusually high value is observed at total depth.
In Shark-1, the anomalous values are derived from Emperor Subgroup
sandstones, that are absent in the other six wells. Here, burial of
immature sandstones resulted in rapid porosity degradation. At Anemone-
1A, the lowermost sandstones are arkosic and the high porosity values are

22
the result of feldspar dissolution.
The vitrinite reflectance versus depth plot shows two populations, a low
gradient group comprising Blackback-1 and Anemone-1A, and a high

B gradient group of wells from the central and northern parts of the basin.
The porosity versus depth fields are moderately scattered and other factors
are likely to control the variance observed. An earlier study by Shell in the
Basker-Manta area (Clark & Thomas, 1988) showed a wide variation of
petrology and reservoir characteristics, but a generally good relationship
between reservoir quality and sedimentary facies. Sands with barrier /
shoreline affinities and fluvial channel and related environments (such as
crevasse splays) showed better reservoir properties than alluvial sandstones.
A regional porosity study by Bodard and Wall (1985) also clearly
demonstrated that reservoir qualities have a depositional facies relationship.

82 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B22

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 83


84 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
Well Results
This section includes a series of well summary sheets to demonstrate the
characteristics of the various stratigraphic units in the basin. Included on
these summaries are typical well-log curves, biostratigraphic sub-divisions,
interpreted environments of deposition and intervals with hydrocarbon
shows/tested zones.
Formation tops have been picked based largely on lithological and log
character, aided by biostratigraphic data.
The data were compiled from well completion reports, most of which have
been scanned and are available digitally.

MOST OF THE EARLY


EXPLORATION WELLS
IN THE GIPPSLAND
BASIN WERE MAINLY
TARGETED AT THE
TOP LATROBE
COARSE CLASTICS
RESERVOIRS

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 85


> Figure B23 Baleen-1 well

Located on the Northern Terrace, the Baleen-1 well is the discovery well of
the Patricia/Baleen Gas Field. Three gas-bearing horizons are developed
within the Latrobe Siliciclastics which, in this location, is represented by
transgressive marine sandstones.
Baleen-1 is one of the few wells that penetrates more than 300m into the
Strzelecki Group and is therefore used here as a type-section for the
uppermost part of the Group. The gamma-ray log shows alternating mud-
and sandstone-dominated sequences, representing fluvial channel and
floodplain environments, respectively. Thin coal seams in these floodplain
deposits are highlighted by slow spikes in the sonic log.
A prominent unconformity separates the Strzelecki Group from the
overlying Latrobe Group sediments. Because the Baleen area is located in
the far north of the Northern Terrace, only sediments of the Latrobe
Siliciclastics are present here. Emperor and Golden Beach subgroups
were not deposited. The three separate gas pools, the largest of which
exceeds 20 m in vertical height, are hosted by relatively fine-grained

23
marine sandstones and can be picked on the resistivity logs where the
neutron porosity curve (red) crosses over the bulk density curve (black).
A subtle break in the gamma-ray log identifies the unconformable contact
between the undifferentiated Latrobe Siliciclastics and the Gurnard
B Formation, which is gas-bearing in the adjacent Patricia Field. In Baleen-1,
the Gurnard Formation consists of glauconitic sandstones and siltstones
that were deposited under mainly open marine conditions. These
sediments represent a condensed section, signalling low sedimentation
rates on the outer shelf during a transgressive episode.
The Gurnard Formation terminates Latrobe Group sedimentation and
the overall depositional regime changes from siliciclastic to calcareous.
The unconformity between the Latrobe and Seaspray groups is generally
well defined on well logs, but appears rather subdued in Baleen-1. This
may be partly due to the fact that glauconitic sediments also occur within
the basal Lakes Entrance Formation. Moreover, the depositional break
near the basins northern margin may not be very pronounced. In the well
logs, the carbonates of the Seaspray Group, dominated by marls and
bioclastic wackestones, appear overall as monotonous lithologies. Because
the carbonate supply was gradually increased during the Miocene, the
boundary between the Lakes Entrance Formation and the Gippsland
Limestone is often difficult to pick on both well and seismic sections.

86 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B23

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 87


> Figure B24 Emperor-1 well

Emperor-1, located in the eastern area of the Northern Terrace, was the
first well to reach Latrobe Group sediments below the T. lilliei biozone,
although at the time of drilling, these were interpreted as Strzelecki Group.
Following the discovery of sediments attributed to the Golden Beach
Group (Lowry & Longley, 1991), the lowermost succession in Emperor-1
was correlated with these.
Only 156 m of Emperor Subgroup sediments were penetrated in the well
and these represent mainly upper coastal plain deposits. 51 m of the
characteristic lacustrine facies in the P. mawsonii biozone, known as the
Kipper Shale and best developed in Kipper-1, are present. The Kipper
Shale, most commonly recognised by a high-value, but overall
monotonous, gamma-ray curve, can exceed thicknesses of 500 m which
includes isolated thin sandstone horizons that represent episodic influx of
erosional material from the basin margin into the lake system.
Above a marked unconformity, involving the omission of the entire N.
senectus biozone, the Latrobe Siliciclastics are represented firstly by upper

24
coastal plain, then by lower coastal plain sediments. The latter are
characterised by multiple intervals of thin coal seams, while sandstones are
common throughout, reflecting the dominance of fluvial sedimentation. An
intercalated prominent volcanic horizon signals recurring extensional

B tectonism. Overall, the Latrobe Group is a transgressive succession.


Although short-lived marine incursions extended to the western part of the
basin, open marine conditions in the Emperor area were not established
until the Mid- to Late Eocene, when the glauconitic sandstones and
mudstones of the Gurnard Formation were deposited during a major
marine transgression.

88 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B24

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 89


> Figure B25 Kipper-1 well

This well represents the type-section for the Kipper Shale. The
distinctive lacustrine mudstones (shales) of the Emperor Subgroup are
characterised by the mainly low-contrast gamma-ray log with an even shale
line that is interrupted only by occasional sandstone spikes. These thin
intervals, often in coarsening upwards log motifs, represent influx of
coarser clastic material derived from the uplifted basin margin. Some of
the sandy horizons contain some gas, but the Kipper Shale commonly
functions as a seal, especially where the unit is tectonically juxtaposed
against younger reservoir sandstones.
The largest vertical gas-column (290 m) in the basin was intersected by
Kipper-1. The gas is hosted by a sandstone-dominated facies in the
Golden Beach Subgroup (Chimaera Formation) and is sealed by a thick
volcanic horizon (see the interval at about 1900-2000m depth). This well
represents the type section of the fluvial to paralic Chimaera Formation
(Bernecker and Partridge, 2001).

B
25

90 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B25

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 91


> Figure B26 Golden Beach-1A well

This well shows the stratigraphy and palaeo-environmental interpretations


of the three subgroups in the Latrobe Group. Following the drilling of the
Golden Beach exploration wells, sediments of N. senectus to P. mawsonii
age were separated from the Latrobe Group and classified as the Golden
Beach Group. Recent palynological results, however, require the
stratigraphic discrimination between the Emperor and Golden Beach
subgroups, each of which comprise three distinctly different facies
assemblages.
Golden Beach-1A penetrated almost the entire Latrobe Group, missing the
Strzelecki Group possibly by less than 100 m. Emperor Subgroup
sediments which, in this location, are dominated by coarse-grained
sandstones of upper coastal plain, and partly alluvial fan affinities,
represent the lowermost 900 m in the well.
The Golden Beach Subgroup, developed here as a dominantly coarse-
grained upper coastal plain facies with only minor muddy intervals, reflects
terrestrial sedimentation associated with basin margin uplift.

26
Contemporaneously, marine incursions invaded the eastern part of the
basin and marine shales accumulated in offshore areas.
A log break at 1731 mKB marks the top Golden Beach un-(dis-)conformity,
above which the Latrobe Siliciclastics begin with a 100 m sandstone
B interval in the T. lilliei zone that is overlain by a thick sequence (L. balmei
biozone) of typically upper coastal plain sediments, including individual thin
coal horizons. The M. diversus to mid-N. asperus biozones are
represented by lower coastal plain sediments comprising abundant coal-
seams. The fully marine Gurnard Formation is the final stratigraphic unit of
the Latrobe Siliciclastics highlighting that the entire succession is overall
transgressive.
Only weak gas shows were identified in the well, one within the Gurnard
Formation and two within sandstones of the Emperor Subgroup.

92 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B26

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 93


> Figure B27 Wirrah-3 well

This well exemplifies the stratigraphic development of the Latrobe


Siliciclastics. The Wirrah-3 well penetrated 1750 m of Latrobe Group
sediments, the lowermost 130 m of which are alluvial plain sediments of
the Golden Beach Subgroup. Hydrocarbons were discovered in Top
Latrobe marine barrier sandstones (Coarse Clastics) and fine-grained
sandstones of the Gurnard Formation) as well as in older (L. balmei
biozone) sandy intervals of the Latrobe Siliciclastics.
The boundary between the Golden Beach Subgroup and the Latrobe
Siliciclastics is marked by a 20 m thick volcanic horizon that is well defined
by the sonic and resistivity logs. A second, thicker volcanic interval is
present in the L. balmei sediments. In this case, multiple flows are
developed which are intercalated with mud-rich sediments and/or soil
horizons that would indicate short-lived periods of sub-aerial exposure.
The overall transgressive nature of the Latrobe Siliciclastics is well
documented in Wirrah-3. Immediately above the Campanian volcanics, the
succession starts with coarse-grained, partly conglomeratic sandstones

27
that are associated with alluvial fan / flood-plain environments. A thick
(>800 m) upper coastal plain sequence, characterised by regular
alternations of thin sandstone/mudstone intervals, is easily identified on
the gamma-ray log. Two of the sandstone intervals act as hydrocarbon

B reservoirs, both of which are sealed by thin floodplain mudstones. A


change from upper to lower coastal plain depositional facies is represented
by the occurrence of the first coal seam at 2005 m. More coaly horizons
are developed within a sequence of fluvial channel sandstones and muddy
overbank deposits and it is likely that a deltaic facies assemblage,
comprising minor marine incursions, is developed towards the top.
Offshore marine conditions are certainly established by mid-N. asperus
time, which in this well are represented by a 35 m thick offshore barrier
sequence that hosts a sub-economic oil and gas column.

94 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B27

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 95


> Figure B28 Kingfish-7 well

Kingfish-7 is one of the few wells in the basin that instructively documents
the lithological variations in the Seaspray Group. The well only penetrated
the uppermost 150 m of the Latrobe Group, successfully drilling the
Coarse-Clastics oil reservoir unit, which is sealed by siltstones and
mudstones of the Gurnard Formation.
The Early Oligocene to recent Seaspray Group was deposited following a
climatic change that promoted the accumulation of marine carbonates
under temperate conditions. Traditionally, two stratigraphic units have
been recognised in the offshore Gippsland Basin, The Lakes Entrance
Formation and the Gippsland Limestone. Several good quality exposures
allowed the erection of a finer tuned stratigraphic framework for the
onshore section.
The Seaspray Group is generally appreciated as a regional seal to the
hydrocarbon accumulations in the Latrobe Siliciclastics, and because of its
poor prospectivity has been frequently neglected in terms of lithological
investigations. However, because the carbonates are known to be the

28
cause of seismic velocity anomalies, recent studies have focussed on
lithological variations within the Seaspray Group.
Essentially four units can be distinguished. The lowermost unit is
represented by the glauconitic, slightly calcareous and mud-rich Lakes
B Entrance Formation. At its top, a strong seismic reflector is commonly
developed which is recognised across the entire basin. Because of its
stratigraphic position, it has been named the Mid-Miocene Marker which
on seismic interpretations is usually associated with the boundary between
the Lakes Entrance and the Gippsland Limestone formations.
Lithologically, however, no clear break is developed between the two, but a
gradual increase in carbonate content can be identified. A strong seismic
reflection is also related to the base of a submarine channel system that
was subjected to cementation earlier than the channel-fill sediments. The
complex variation between interfingering submarine channels and their
diverse channel-fills are the main cause for seismic velocity anomalies.
The gamma-ray log in Kingfish-7 does not show a marked break at the top
of the Lakes Entrance Formation, but a clear boundary exists between
units II and III, which is the base of the mid-Miocene channel system in this
part of the basin. Unit II encompasses distal slope facies and mainly
comprises fine-grained turbiditic carbonates. The overlying Unit III is
composed of distinctly coarser grained sediments, including well-rounded
quartz-grains that were derived from the hinterland. The prominent shift in
the sonic log defines a 600 m thick succession of fast rocks that define
the High-Velocity-Zone and represents the channel-facies in this well.
In the offshore, the youngest sediments of the Seaspray Group are
represented by the highly fossiliferous wackestones and packstones of
Unit IV. This unit would be the Gippsland Limestone sensu stricto as it
contains fewer marly intervals than older units.

96 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B28

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 97


> Figure B29 Manta-1 well

Manta-1 is one of the few wells in the basin that documents the lithological
variations and gas shows in the Golden Beach Subgroup. Manta-1
encountered oil and gas shows in the intra-Latrobe, specifically within the
T. lilliei biozone as well as within the Golden Beach Subgroup. The top of
significant ditch gas readings within the Latrobe Group occurred at about
2588 mRT within the lower F. longus biozone rather than in the Coarse
Clastics. The sandstone from 3274-3328 mRT had gas readings of 10.6%,
with gas composition ranging from C1 to C4 and traces of C5. At total
depth, the gas was 99.5% C1. At the same time, the well encountered
multi-layers of volcanics in the intra-Latrobe / Golden Beach levels.
The well intersected a thin section of Gurnard Formation and the Coarse
Clastics reported as Flounder Formation conglomeratic sandstone. The
oil and gas shows were intersected within the lower coastal plain
sandstones. These sandstones above the volcanics are mainly fluvial point
bar deposits 2-5 m thick and are generally fine to coarse-grained and have
fining upwards trends on the gamma-ray log. Sandstones with a blocky log
character, such as the 17 m sandstone at 2751 m, are probably channel

29
deposits. Porosity values in these sandstones range from 17 to 25%.
Sandstones within the volcanic section are lithic, fine-grained to
conglomeritic, moderately sorted with angular to subangular grains in an
argillaceous matrix. Analyses of core samples between 3300-3307 mRT
B gave measured porosity values of 10-17.5% with vertical permeabilities of
0-83 mD and horizontal values of 8.5-222 mD. Production test data from
the interval 3290-3299 mRT and 3309-3315 mRT indicated permeabilities
of 3.25-3.5 mD for this sandstone.
Manta-1 intersected 24.1 m of oil and 27.6 m of gas in the T. lilliei
(Campanian) lower coastal plain sandstones above the volcanics. A 54 m
sandstone within the volcanics contained a 39 m gas/condensate column.
Sediments penetrated below 2836 m have been determined to be Golden
Beach Subgroup, belonging to the N. senectus palynological zone
(Santonian to Campanian age).

98 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B29

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 99


> Figure B30 Anemone-1/1A well

Anemone-1 and 1A sidetrack is one of the few wells in the southern part
of the basin that penetrated open marine sediments and tested gas in the
Golden Beach Subgroup. The well was drilled in 1989 to test a downside
fault dependent rollover mapped at the intra-Latrobe 77.5 Ma middle T. lilliei
horizon (Petrofinas near top UK3 horizon which is Top Golden Beach).
The well is significant in that it is located in the southern margin of the
basin and it continued into the Golden Beach Subgroup where
gas/condensate zones were encountered in marine Santonian-Campanian
units. Two pay zones, below 4200 mKB, of 11 m and 28 m net thickness
with average porosities of 14% were estimated to have a minimum proved
and probable GIP of 11 BCF or a maximum of 20 BCF (Petrofina, 1993).
The respective recoverable condensate reserves range from 0.6 to 1.1
MMB. Gas water contacts are inferred from the RFT data. An interesting
result of the RFT pressure data is that the two pays are isolated from each
other by a shale which is only 6.5 m thick at 4210 to 4216.5 mKB
(Petrofina, 1993). This suggests that similar thin shale units could act as
seals for hydrocarbon plays in this sector of the basin.

30
Overall, a 32% net:gross interval was intersected in Anemone-1/1A with
average porosities ranging from 11% to 23%. Four zones were found to
be hydrocarbon bearing with only the lower two zones containing
significant amounts of net hydrocarbon sandstones. These zones are:
B 1 3325-3386 mKB. Thinly bedded sandstones, siltstones and coal
stringers with minor gas shows but no fluorescence.
2 4042-4140 mKB. Moderate gas shows with peaks up to 1.5%,
possibly residual hydrocarbons similar to those found in zone 1.
3 4198-4244m KB. Interbedded sandstones and siltstones with good
gas shows up to 3% total gas and with fluorescence in the cuttings as
well as solvent cuts. RFT data shows a gas gradient of 0.184 psi/ft
extrapolated to a water line indicating a possible GWC at 4331 mKB.
Gas and oil emulsion were recovered at 4230.5 m from the 2 3/4 gallon
chamber of the RFT tool.
4 4525-4775 mKB. Good gas shows and presence of liquid oil in the
mud. Two DSTs were carried out at 4599-4618 m and 4629-4652 m
with flow rates of 120-150 BOPD and 0.8-1.0 MMSCF signifying that
these sandstones have low permeability.

100 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B30

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 101


> Figure B31 Blackback-1, ST1, ST2 well

This well is an example of one of the few discovery wells drilled in the
eastern part of the basin in water depths greater than 200 m. The well
intersected a 31 m gross oil column in an 81 m thick N. asperus aged
channel fill sandstone at the top of Latrobe Group. This interval was
tested at 1508 BOPD of 51O API gravity oil with 1.9 MMSCF of gas. The
channel fill sandstones are rich in glauconite, pyrite, siderite and micas.
Intra-Latrobe hydrocarbons occur below the 3200 m level. Thin
hydrocarbon bearing sands were recognised in the basal portion of the
lower F. longus coastal plain unit. This section contains both gas and oil
zones. Individual zones attain a maximum thickness of 6 m (TVD).
The section from the base of the channel at about 2990 mKB to about
3900 mKB is dated to be Lower F. longus. The presence of dinoflagellate
M. druggii within the Flounder equivalent interval confirms the marine
influence and dated it to be the upper part of the Lower F. longus zone.
Coastal plain coals, shales and sandstones from the unit starting from
about 3100 mKB to about 3650 mKB were intersected. Below this to TD

31
is an interval consisting of primarily sandstones with minor siltstones and
shales. The occurrence of rare dinoflagellates and the lack of coals
indicate a return to marginal marine conditions.

102 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure B31

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 103


104 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
OTWAY BASIN

By Andrew Constantine The Otway Basin has a long exploration history of hydrocarbon exploration.
The search for hydrocarbons in the basin commenced in 1892 with a 281 m
deep bore drilled by Salt Creek Petroleum in the South Australian part of
the basin. No hydrocarbons were encountered and the bore was plugged
and abandoned.
Since then, approximately 200 wells have been drilled in the basin with
mixed success. Initially, the basin failed to yield any hydrocarbons and did
not live up to the expectations of early explorers. In 1959, this view
changed with the discovery onshore at Port Campbell of a sub-commercial
quantity of gas in the base Late Cretaceous Waarre Formation [Port
Campbell-1]. Over the next ten years, numerous wells were drilled
targeting the Waarre Formation and Early Cretaceous Pretty Hill Formation,
both onshore and offshore. Most of these wells, however, proved dry, and
interest in the basin quickly waned. In 1978, interest was revitalised with
the discovery of a commercial gas field [North Paaratte] in the Waarre
Formation onshore near Port Campbell.
In the last fifteen years, improvements in biostratigraphic dating and the
quality of seismic data acquired in the basin, in particular the use of 3D
seismic, have led to a significantly better understanding of the structure,
stratigraphy and maturation history of the basin. These improvements
resulted in a steady trickle of new discoveries, culminating in 1993 with the
discovery of the Minerva (558 BCF GIP) and La Bella (217 BCF GIP) gas
fields offshore south of Port Campbell. 2001, however, will probably be
regarded as the turning point in the history of hydrocarbon exploration
activity within the basin, with Santos discovering five small gas fields
onshore at Port Campbell and, at the same time, two joint ventures
headed by Origin Energy and Woodside discovering two large (500 BCF
1 TCF GIP) gas fields offshore to the south (Geographe and Thylacine).
All of these fields were Waarre Formation discoveries and were identified
on 3D seismic in a part of the basin previously explored by other
companies. The discovery of these fields clearly demonstrates the Otway
Basin has considerable remaining potential, and its proximity to the
growing Southeastern Australian gas market suggests it is in an ideal
position to attract further exploration.

THE OTWAY BASIN


HAS CONSIDERABLE
REMAINING
POTENTIAL AND...
IS IN AN IDEAL
POSITION TO
ATTRACT FURTHER
EXPLORATION

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 105


> Figure C1 Regional setting and subdivision

The Otway Basin is a NW-SE striking passive margin rift basin


approximately 500 km long that extends from Cape Jaffa in South Australia
to the northwest tip of Tasmania. It is one of a series of basins on the
southern margin of mainland Australia and Tasmania that formed in
response to the breakup and separation of Australia and Antarctica.
The sedimentary section in the basin ranges from Late Jurassic to Recent
in age and covers an area of about 155,000 km2; approximately 80% of
which is located offshore. About 25% of the basin is located in the State
of South Australia, 50% in the State of Victoria, and the remaining 25% in
the State of Tasmania. The western, northern and eastern limits of the
basin are defined by the outcrop-subcrop extent of the Late Jurassic
Early Cretaceous Otway Group. The southern limit of the basin is defined
by the southern limit of Early Tertiary sediments in the Hunter Sub-basin
(Figure C32 and Moore et al., 2000). It is flanked to the west and
southeast by two similar Late Jurassic Tertiary rift basins called the Bight
and Sorell. The Bight and Otway basins are linked by a narrow, 30 km
wide, 100 km long, NW-trending depocentre called the Beachport Sub-

1
basin (Moore et al., 2000). The Sorell Basin is located off the west coast
of Tasmania and is contiguous with the Otway.
In order for the reader to easily locate features referred to in this section
of the Petroleum Atlas, the Otway Basin is here divided into three
C geographic / structural domains called western, central and eastern.
The western domain encompasses all of the Otway Basin onshore and
offshore west of the Victorian South Australian border. The central
domain encompasses all the onshore offshore Otway Basin between the
Victorian South Australian border and the Moyston Fault Shipwreck
Trough Trend (MFSTT). The eastern domain encompasses all of the
basin both onshore and offshore east of the MFSTT, including the Torquay
Sub-basin (see Figure C8). The boundary between the western and
central domains is a geographic boundary and does not have any tectonic
and/or stratigraphic significance. The MFSTT is a tectonic boundary.
A more detailed description of this boundary accompanies Figure C48.

106 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C1

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 107


> Figure C2 Topography and bathymetry

The topography and bathymetry of the Otway Basin is illustrated in Figure


C2. The onshore topography colour-drape was generated by gridding the
AUSLIG 20 metre digital contour dataset and gravity station elevation data.
The bathymetric data is from AGSO. All elevations are in metres relative
to sea level.
The onshore part of the Otway Basin ranges from 0 to 686 m in elevation
and is flanked to the north by Palaeozoic basement of the Great Dividing
Range and Grampians. The main physiographic features within the Otway
Basin are (from west to east) the Kanawinka Escarpment, Merino Uplift -
Dartmoor Ridge, Otway Ranges, Barongarook High, and Barrabool Hills.
The Kanawinka Escarpment is a prominent, west-facing escarpment near
the South Australian Victorian border which separates the low-lying
plains of the Gambier Embayment to the west from the uplifted tablelands
of the Merino Uplift Dartmoor Ridge to the east. The escarpment
consists of a series of interlocking NNE- and NW-trending faults that
stretch from the northern margin of the basin southeastwards to the coast
at Cape Bridgewater and Cape Nelson. The Otway Ranges, Barongarook

2
High and Barrabool Hills are the three prominent NE- to ENE-trending
positive physiographic features visible at the eastern end of the basin.
The Otway Ranges is the largest of the three and rises up to 686 m above
sea level. The prominent NW-SE striking lineaments to the west of the
C Otway Ranges are Pliocene strandline deposits of the Hanson Plain Sand.

108 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C2

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 109


> Figure C3 Otway Basin petroleum tenements (At 31/10/01)

Production Licences Tenement Holder


PPL 1 Western Underground Gas Storage* (100%)
PPL 2 Western Underground Gas Storage* (100%)
PPL 3 Boggy Creek: BOC Gases* (100%)
PPL 4 Santos* (100%)
PPL 5 Santos* (100%)
PPL 6 Santos* (90%) Beach Petroleum (10%)
PPL 7 Santos* (100%)
PPL 8 Origin Energy* (100%)

Exploration Permits Tenement Holder Expiry Date


PEP 150 Offered to Origin Energy (75%)
Essential (25%)

3
PEP 151 Offered to Essential Petroleum (100%)
PEP 152 Origin* (50%) Essential (34%)
Lakes Oil (16%) 03/02/2005
PEP 153 Santos* (100%) 28/02/2005
C PEP 154(a) Santos* (90%)
Beach Petroleum (10%) 31/03/2005
PEP 154(b) Santos* (90%)
Beach Petroleum (10%) 31/03/2005
PEP 159 Origin* (50%) Essential (50%) 12/11/2005
PEP 160 TMOC Exploration* (60%)
Origin (40%) 13/11/2005

Exploration Permits Tenement Holder Expiry Date


VIC/P43 Origin* (25%) Woodside (50%)
CalEnergy (25%) 10/08/2005
VIC/P44 Strike Oil* (50%) Santos (50%) 10/08/2005
VIC/P46 Essential Petroleum* (100%) 27/05/2007

Retention Leases Tenement Holder Expiry Date


VIC/RL7 BHP Petroleum* (90%) Santos (10%) 27/02/2003
VIC/RL8 BHP Petroleum* (90%) Santos (10%) 29/11/2002

* Indicates operator of the tenement

110 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C3

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 111


> Figure C4 Exploration wells

A total of 113 petroleum exploration wells have been drilled in the Victorian
part of the Otway Basin as of October 2001; 93 onshore and 20 offshore.
The first onshore well drilled was SA Oil Moutajup 1A in 1921 about 20 km
east of the city of Hamilton. The first offshore well drilled was Pecten-1A
drilled in 1967 by Shell on the Mussel Platform. Well depths onshore
range from 331.2 mKB (Ingleby-1) to 3655.5 mKB (Ross Creek-1), and
offshore from 1222 mKB (Wild Dog-1) to 4200 mKB (Bridgewater Bay-1).
Seven discovery wells were drilled in 2001, five onshore in the Port
Campbell Embayment: Croft-1, Lavers-1, McIntee-1, Naylor-1 and Tregony-
1. Offshore in the Shipwreck Trough, Geographe-1 (the 400-600 BCF GIP
Woodside Origin Cal Energy discovery) and Geographe North-1 were
drilled in Victorian waters. Thylacine, the large (0.6 - 1TCF GIP) Woodside
Origin Benaris gas discovery, is located just inside Tasmanian state
waters about 14.5 km south of Geographe-1.

C
4

112 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C4

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 113


> Figure C5 Seismic surveys

The offshore part of the Victorian Otway Basin is covered by a dense 2D


grid (1115 lines) totalling over 63,000 line km, while the onshore part of
the basin is covered by a relatively poor 2D seismic grid (1246 lines)
totalling over 14,600 line km. Over 100 seismic surveys have been
acquired onshore and 35 seismic surveys offshore. The first onshore
survey was acquired in 1958 (Portland & Port Campbell-Timboon Seismic
Survey) and the first offshore survey in 1961 (Warrnambool Port
Campbell Seismic Survey). Both surveys were carried out by Frome-
Broken Hill.
Only five 3D surveys have been acquired in the Victorian part of the Otway
Basin to date: the Waarre, Iona, Nirranda-Heytesbury, Minerva and
Investigator 3D surveys. The surveys are all located in the southeast
corner of the basin. The Waarre, Iona and Nirranda-Heytesbury 3D
surveys are located onshore in the Port Campbell Embayment. The
Waarre 3D survey was acquired by GFE Resources in 1993 and covers an
area of 108 km2. The Iona 3D Survey was acquired by Gas Transmission
Corporation in 1998 and covers an area of 27 km2. The Nirranda-

5
Heytesbury 3D Survey was acquired in 2001 by Santos and covers an
area of 194 km2.
The Minerva and Investigator 3D surveys are located to the south of Port

C Campbell in the Shipwreck Trough. The Minerva 3D Survey was acquired


in 1994 over the Minerva gas field and covers an area of 135 km2. The
Investigator 3D Survey was acquired in 2000 by Woodside Energy and
Origin Energy. The survey covers an area of 969 km2 (714 km2 in Victorian
State waters and 155 km2 in Tasmanian state waters) and was used to
identify the recent Thylacine (0.6 to 1 TCF GIP) and Geographe (400-600
BCF GIP) gas discoveries.
At the time of writing a further 3D survey, the 538 km2 Casino 3D Marine
Survey, was being acquired by Strike Oil in VIC/P44 southwest of Port
Campbell, and Fugro Seismic Australia were acquiring multi-client spec
survey data in open acreage southwest of VIC/P44 and in the deepwater
acreage designated V01-3 (see Figure C3).

114 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C5

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 115


> Figure C6 Fields and pipelines

Twenty gas fields have been discovered in the Victorian part of the Otway
Basin to date: seventeen onshore (Boggy Creek, Wallaby Creek, Langley,
Grumby, Iona, Dunbar, Skull Creek, North Paaratte, Mylor, Wild Dog Road,
Fenton Creek, Penryn, McIntee, Tregony, Croft, Lavers, Naylor) and three
offshore (Minerva, La Bella, Geographe). The seventeen onshore gas
fields are all located in the southeast corner of the basin onshore near the
township of Port Campbell (See also Figure C7). Five of these are
currently in production: Wallaby Creek (17.8 BCF GIP), Skull Creek (2.0
BCF GIP), North Paaratte (15.8 BCF GIP), Mylor (11.8 BCF GIP) and
Fenton Creek (4.8 BCF GIP) (Mehin & Constantine, 1999).
The producing fields are connected by pipeline through two gas processing
facilities, at Heytesbury and North Paaratte, to the city of Melbourne and
to Cobden, Hamilton and Portland. Boggy Creek is a CO2 field (88.7%
CO2), with the CO2 processed at CIGs processing plant at Boggy Creek
and trucked to Melbourne. A further five onshore fields, Croft, McIntee,
Naylor, Lavers and Tregony, which were discovered in 2001 by Santos are
currently awaiting development. The Iona gas field was depleted in 2000

6
and is now used for an underground gas storage project.
The three offshore fields, Minerva, La Bella and Geographe, are located to
the south of the Port Campbell gas fields. Minerva (558 BCF GIP) and La

C Bella (217 BCF GIP) were discovered by BHP Petroleum in early 1993,
and are currently held in retention leases granted in late 1997 - early 1998.
Geographe (400-600 BCF GIP) was discovered by Woodside Energy
Origin Energy CalEnergy in 2001 and was appraised by the drilling of
Geographe North-1. Thylacine (0.6 - 1 TCF), the Woodside Origin
Benaris gas discovery located in Tasmanian waters south of Geographe is
a significant discovery which will be developed via a pipeline to the
Victorian Otway coast. Minerva is in the early stages of development with
gas from the field to be sent to Adelaide via a new pipeline to be
completed by 2004. Two alternative pipeline routes have been proposed
to supply gas from the Port Campbell area to Adelaide in South Australia.

116 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C6

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 117


> Figure C7 Port Campbell gas fields historical background

Hydrocarbons were first encountered in the Port Campbell area in 1959


when Port Campbell-1 drilled by Frome-Broken Hill flowed gas at a rate of
4.2 MMCFD plus a small amount of condensate from the Late Cretaceous
(Turonian) Waarre Formation. Production tests, however, revealed the field
was too small to be developed, so the well was plugged and abandoned.
In 1978, Beach Petroleum NL were awarded a licence to explore the Port
Campbell area, and in 1979 discovered the North Paaratte Field which
flowed gas from Waarre Formation at a rate of 9.6 MMCFD on test (North
Paaratte-1). Two years later, Beach discovered two more fields: Grumby
and Wallaby Creek. Grumby is presently undeveloped due to the high CO2
content of the gas (53%). Wallaby Creek, in contrast, has only 2% CO2,
and flowed gas from Waarre Formation at a rate of 9.8 MMCFD on test
(Wallaby Creek-1). In 1986, the North Paaratte Gas Facility started
processing gas from the North Paaratte and Wallaby Creek fields. In
1988, Beach Petroleum discovered a fourth field, Iona, which flowed gas
from the Waarre Formation at a rate of 8.1 MMCFD on test (Iona-1).

7
In 1991, GFE Resources discovered the Boggy Creek CO2 Field
approximately 7 km to the NW of Wallaby Creek. Boggy Creek-1
encountered a 68 m column but did not intersect the gas-water contact.
CO2 production is processed at the BOC purification plant at Boggy Creek

C and trucked to Melbourne.


In 1994, two more fields were discovered, Mylor and Langley. Mylor was
discovered by Parker & Parsley and flowed gas from Waarre Formation at
a rate of 4.21 MMCFD on test (Mylor-1). The field is unlike any of the
other fields at Port Campbell in that the gas is underlain by a thin (2 m) oil
leg. Langley, identified by the Waarre 3D Seismic Survey, was found by
GFE Resources but has not been developed due to the high (66%) CO2
content of the gas.
In 1995, GFE Resources discovered the Dunbar Field approximately 2.5
km north of Wallaby Creek. The field was not developed either, because
of its size, but in 2001, Origin Energy re-entered the discovery well
(Dunbar-1) and drilled a sidetrack in order to develop it. The field is
expected to come on-stream towards the end of 2001.
In 1996, Basin Oil NL (a subsidiary of Cultus) discovered Skull Creek after
they acquired PPL1 from GFE Resources. The field flowed gas from
Waarre Formation at a rate of 22 MMCFD on test (Skull Creek-1) and was
connected to the North Paaratte production station in 1997.
Fenton Creek (4 BCF GIP) was discovered by Santos in 1997 and flowed
gas from Waarre Formation at a rate of 6 MMCFD on test (Fenton Creek-
1). The field is located approximately 5 km to the north of Mylor and
began producing in late 1999 through the Heytesbury gas processing
facility. In 2000, Santos discovered another field, Penryn, in PEP 153
approximately 5 km east of Mylor and Fenton Creek. It was identified on
the Waarre 3D Seismic Survey and is currently awaiting development. In
2001, Santos discovered five more fields: McIntee, Tregony, Croft, Lavers
and Naylor. The first four are located well to the west of PPL 1 in PEP 154
near Boggy Creek. Tregony is located approximately 1km west of Fenton
Creek and straddles the PPL1 PEP153 boundary. All five fields are
presently awaiting development.

118 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C7

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 119


> Figure C8 Stratigraphy and hydrocarbon occurrence

The Late Jurassic Tertiary succession in the Otway Basin is divided into
eight unconformity-bounded groups called the Otway, Sherbrook,
Wangerrip, Eastern View, Nirranda, Demons Bluff, Heytesbury and Torquay
groups. Total basin fill is approximately 10 km.
Sedimentation commenced in the Late Jurassic Early Cretaceous with the
deposition of the non-marine Otway Group. Seismic data indicate the Otway
Group is up to 8000 m thick and underlies the entire basin, including the
Torquay Sub-basin. The unit consists largely of sandstone and shale with
minor interbedded coal and volcanics. Oil and gas shows have been
encountered at all levels within this sequence, with commercial gas production
currently occurring at the top Pretty Hill Formation level in South Australia.
The Sherbrook Group is a sequence of Late Cretaceous sandstone, shale,
mudstone and minor coal up to 5000 m thick which accumulated in a
coastal plain to marine environment. The Sherbrook Group is limited in its
distribution to the Otway Basin west of the Otway Ranges and is absent in
the Torquay Sub-basin where sediments of upper Late Cretaceous age are

8
assigned to the Eastern View Group instead. Most of the hydrocarbon
occurrences reported to date have been gas shows in the lower half of the
sequence, with commercial gas production from the Waarre Formation
onshore at Port Campbell. Weak oil shows have also been reported in the

C Waarre Formation in several wells.


The Wangerrip Group is a sequence of Palaeocene to Eocene deltaic to
marine gravel, sand, silt and mudstone up to 350 m thick. The sediments
are restricted in their distribution to the Otway Basin west of the Otway
Ranges. Numerous oil and gas shows have been reported at different
levels throughout this sequence, the majority of them in the basal Pebble
Point Formation onshore.
The Eastern View Group (EVG) is a sequence of Campanian to Late Eocene
non-marine sand, carbonaceous silt, clay and coal up to 450 m thick. The
Eastern View Group is restricted in its distribution to the Colac and Torquay
sub-basins at the eastern end of the Otway Basin (Figure C12), and overlaps
in time with the Wangerrip Group and upper Sherbrook Group. Weak gas
shows have been reported in several wells intersecting the EVG in the Torquay
Sub-basin, but no commercial accumulations have been discovered yet.
The Nirranda Group (NG) and Demons Bluff Group (DBG) are Middle
Eocene to early Late Oligocene in age. The two units are lithologically very
similar; composed largely of non-marine to outer-shelf sand, silt, marl and
calcareous mudstone, with volcanics present in the latter. They range up
to 360 m in thickness with the NG restricted to the Otway Basin west of
the Otway Ranges and the DBG restricted to the Torquay Sub-basin east
of the Otway Ranges. Bore data indicate the two units interfinger with
each other onshore at the southern end of the Colac Sub-basin. No
hydrocarbons have been reported in either unit.
The Heytesbury Group (HG) and Torquay Group (TG) are Late Oligocene
to Late Miocene shallow, open marine carbonate sequences up to 360 m
thick. The HG blankets the entire Otway Basin west of the Otway Ranges,
with the TG limited to the Torquay Sub-basin. The two units interfinger
with each other in the Colac Sub-basin. No hydrocarbon shows have been
reported in either unit.

120 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C8

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 121


> Figure C9 Tectonostratigraphic history

The Otway Basin has a two stage rift history associated with the breakup
of Australia and Antarctica and the formation of the Southern Ocean. The
first rift event occurred during the Tithonian Barremian and resulted in the
formation of a series of half-grabens that were progressively filled with
Casterton Formation and Crayfish Subgroup. In the early Aptian, the basin
then underwent a period of regional sag during which the Eumeralla
Formation was deposited. This event lasted up until the end of the Albian.
The second rift event occurred during the Turonian Maastrichtian after a
period of tectonic quiescence and non-deposition spanning the
Cenomanian. This rifting resulted in the formation of a new set of half-
grabens as far east as the Moyston Fault Trend. This event opened up the
western end of the Otway Basin to the ocean in the Duntroon Basin and
allowed the sea to flood in. While this was happening, the rest of the
basin east of the N-S oriented Moyston Fault Trend was undergoing
folding, uplift and erosion, with up to 3 km of Otway Group stripped off the
Otway Ranges and up to 2 km removed from the adjacent basement highs.
Most of the space created by the extension to the west was

9
accommodated by displacement along the E-W trending Tartwaup-Mussel
Fault Zone (Figure C11), with the Moyston Fault acting as a strike-slip
fault. This prevented the rifting from extending eastwards into the eastern
Otway and Bass basins.
C At the end of the Maastrichtian, Australia and Antarctica began to
separate, and the two continents started to slowly drift apart at a rate of
4.3 mm/yr (Cande & Mutter, 1982), with Tasmania still attached to the
Australian mainland. This event created a 67 Ma break-up unconformity at
the top of the Sherbrook Group and marks the onset of passive margin
subsidence in the basin and the formation of the Southern Ocean (Lavin,
1997a). The period of slow spreading lasted from the latest Maastrichtian
(67 Ma) until the middle Eocene (49 Ma), during which the Wangerrip
Group was deposited. In the eastern Otway Basin, this event was
punctuated by several phases of gentle compressional folding
(OCallaghan, 1993; Geary & Reid, 1998).
At the end of the middle Eocene (49 Ma), the spreading rate in the
Southern Ocean suddenly increased to its current rate of 110 mm/yr
(Cande & Mutter, 1982) causing the Otway margin to rapidly subside.
Another major transgression soon followed, which cut off the supply of
clastic sediment to the Wangerrip Group. This created a starved margin
culminating in the deposition of the carbonate-rich Nirranda and
Heytesbury groups.
During the late Miocene Recent (15 0 Ma), the Otway Basin east of
the Moyston Fault Trend has been under a phase of NW-SE compression.
This compression has caused significant folding, uplift and erosion of the
sedimentary fill in this part of the basin and the formation of the Otway
Ranges via inversion of Early Cretaceous normal faults. West of the
Moyston Fault Trend, compressional features are rare and basin fill is
largely undeformed.

122 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C9

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 123


> Figure C10 Structural elements Late Jurassic Early Cretaceous

The structure of the Otway Basin during the Late Jurassic Early
Cretaceous has been the focus of a significant amount of work over the
last ten years (Kopsen & Scholefield, 1990; Hill et al., 1994a; Perincek et
al., 1994; Trupp et al., 1994; Cockshell, 1995a; Cockshell et al., 1995;
Cooper, 1995a,b; Hill, K.A. et al., 1994a,b; Hill, K.C. et al., 1994; Lovibond
et al., 1995; Perincek & Cockshell, 1995; Cooper & Hill, 1997; and Lavin,
1997b). These studies have shown the basin consisted of a series of half-
grabens during the Late Jurassic Early Cretaceous. The half-grabens
contain up to 2 seconds TWT of Casterton Formation and Crayfish
Subgroup sediments and volcanics. A seismic line across one of these
half-grabens is illustrated in Figure C34.
Thirteen half-grabens have been mapped onshore in Victoria: the Penola,
Tantanoola, Mocamboro, Digby, Tahara, Ardonachie, Morenda,
Windermere, Koroit, Elingamite, Ross Creek, Gellibrand and Ombersely
troughs; and five highs: the Kalangadoo, Lake Condah, Branxholme,
Stoneyford and Moorlie. All of these structures are visible on the Top
Basement TWT structure map (Figure C21) and Casterton Crayfish

10
Isochron (Figure C26). The Penola and Tantanoola troughs, and
Kalangadoo High, straddle the Victoria South Australia border. The
others are all located entirely within the Victorian part of the basin. For the
most part, the half-grabens are oriented NW-SE except in the eastern part
C of the basin where they are oriented E-W north of Port Campbell (e.g.
Elingamite and Ross Creek troughs) and NE-SW in the Colac Sub-basin
Otway Ranges Torquay Sub-basin area (e.g. Gellibrand, Ombersely and
Nerita troughs). The half-grabens are generally bounded to the south by
north-dipping normal faults.
Some troughs are well defined while others are only moderately well to
poorly defined. The Penola Trough is perhaps the best known of all the
Crayfish half-grabens as it is host to the Katnook, Ladbrook, Haselgrove
and Haselgrove South gas fields in South Australia. The fields are all
located in the axis of the Penola Trough about 20 km from the Victorian
border. The gas is trapped in tilted-fault blocks at the top Pretty Hill
Sandstone level, with vertical and cross-fault sealing provided by Laira
Formation (Cockshell, 1995b; Morton & Sansome, 1995).
The orientation, distribution and size of the half-grabens offshore and
underneath the onshore coastal strip is uncertain as they cannot been
seen on seismic (see Figures C31 and C32) due to the thickness of
Eumeralla Formation and overlying Sherbrook Group.

124 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C10

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 125


> Figure C11 Structural elements Late Cretaceous

The structure of the Otway Basin during the Late Cretaceous is covered in
some detail in Megallaa (1986), Cockshell (1995a), Lavin (1997a, 1998),
Geary & Reid (1998), Moore et al. (2000) and Reid et al. (2001). Seismic
data indicate the Late Cretaceous structure of the Otway Basin was not as
complex as its Early Cretaceous structure. Instead of the many small half-
grabens which characterise the Late Jurassic Early Cretaceous, the Otway
Basin during the Late Cretaceous appears to have been dominated by a
single large feature called the Voluta Trough. The trough is largely located
offshore and contains up to 5 seconds (TWT) of Late Cretaceous sediments
that thin toward the southwest. It is bounded to the north by the Mumbannar,
Mussel and Prawn platforms which were structural highs during the Late
Cretaceous. The three platforms are covered by a thin (< 1000 m thick)
veneer of Late Cretaceous sediments and are separated from the Voluta
Trough by the Tartwaup Mussel Hinge Line: a 1000 km long, NW-SE striking
zone of down-to-the-SW normal faults with up to 3 seconds (TWT) of throw.
Most of the current exploration activity in the Otway Basin is centred on
the Mumbannar, Mussel and Prawn platforms where the major play fairway,

11
the Waarre Formation, is fairly shallow (1500 2500 m BSL). The
Mumbannar Platform is a NW-SE striking terrace about 30 40 km wide
and 200 km long which stretches from the South Australia Victoria
border southeast to Port Campbell. Exploration activity in this area is
C largely centred on the Port Campbell Embayment where the Port Campbell
gas fields are located. The Port Campbell Embayment is a stratigraphic-
structural feature approximately 50 km wide and 15 20 km deep defined
by the northern extent of the Waarre Formation onshore at Port Campbell.
A similar feature about 20 km wide and 20 km deep to the NW is called
the Tyrendarra Embayment.
The Mussel Platform is the offshore extension of the Mumbannar Platform.
It is about 20 km wide and stretches from Port Fairy to Port Campbell.
The Prawn Platform is located to the east of the Mussel Platform and
south of the Otway Ranges (OR). It is a N-S oriented structure about 20
km wide flanked to the east by a submerged basement high called the King
Island High. The two platforms are separated by the Shipwreck Trough a
prominent N-S striking synclinorium approximately 30 km wide and 60 km
long that extends southward offshore from Port Campbell as far as the
Victoria Tasmania border and possibly further. The trough contains up to
1.5 seconds TWT of Late Cretaceous sediments and appears to be an
extension of a major N-S striking Palaeozoic basement lineament called the
Moyston Fault. Apatite fission track studies of basement rocks along the
northern margin of the basin indicate this fault was active during the Mid-
Cretaceous, with up to 1.5 km of uplift and erosion on its eastern side
(Foster & Gleadow, 1992). This uplift event also affected the eastern
onshore Otway Basin east of Port Campbell where two, parallel, NE-
trending zones of uplift and erosion have been identified: one centred on
the Otway Ranges (Cooper et al., 1993; Duddy, 1994; Cooper & Hill,
1997), and the other underneath the northwestern half of the Colac Sub-
basin (Cooper & Hill, 1997; Duddy, 2000b). Apatite fission track and
vitrinite reflectance data from these areas indicate up to 3.5 km and 1.5
km of Eumeralla Formation was stripped off these areas respectively in the
Mid-Cretaceous.

126 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C11

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 127


> Figure C12 Structural elements Upper Late Cretaceous - Tertiary

Structural elements of upper Late Cretaceous Tertiary age in the Victorian


Otway Basin can be divided into three groups based on age and physiographic
expression. The first comprises the Otway Ranges (OR), Barongarook High
(BKH), Barrabool Hills (BBH) and Bellarine High in the eastern Otway Basin.
These are positive physiographic features which are also visible on Figure C2.
These structures formed in response to NW-SE compression during the Late
Miocene Pliocene and are basically large uplifted blocks of Early Cretaceous
Eumeralla Formation bounded by reverse faults. The Otway Ranges, the largest
of the four blocks, is approximately 70 km long and 25 km wide and trends NE.
Thermal history modelling (Cooper & Hill, 1997) indicates up to 1200 m of
section was stripped off this feature during the Late Miocene Pliocene.
The second group comprises the Merino Uplift (MU) and Dartmoor Ridge (DR)
located in the central Otway Basin near the Victoria South Australia border.
The Merino Uplift is a large, triangular-shaped block of outcropping Eumeralla
Formation oriented NNE-SSW. Thermal history modelling suggests it formed in
the Early Tertiary (Hill et al., 1994; Mitchell, 1997) and has remained a structural
high since then. The Dartmoor Ridge is a subsurface continuation of the

12
Merino High but is underlain by a thick Late Cretaceous Tertiary sequence.
The third group comprises the Colac Sub-basin, Torquay Sub-basin, Portland
Trough, Northern Platform and Bridgewater High. These features are upper

C Late Cretaceous Early Tertiary in age and have little or no physiographic


expression. The first two are located in the eastern Otway Basin to the west
and east of the Otway Ranges respectively, and are connected via a narrow
saddle between the Otway Ranges and Barrabool Hills. The Colac Sub-basin is
located onshore and contains up to 880 ms (TWT) of upper Late Cretaceous
Early Tertiary sediments. It is approximately 80 km long and 45 km wide and
2
covers an area of ca. 2900 km . Its western and northern limits are defined by
the subcrop extent of the underlying Otway Group. The Torquay Sub-basin is
located to the east of the Otway Ranges. It contains up to 1200 ms (TWT) of
upper Late Cretaceous Tertiary sediments and covers an area of ca. 4480
km2; 90% of which is located offshore. Its southern and eastern limits are
defined by the subcrop extent of the underlying Otway Group. The presence of
Early Tertiary Eastern View Group sediments 400 m above sea level on the
eastern flank of the Otway Ranges (Edwards, 1962) suggests the two sub-
basins were probably a single depocentre until the uplift and formation of the
Otway Ranges in the Late Miocene Pliocene.
The Portland Trough, Northern Platform and Bridgewater High are located in the
western and central Otway Basin. The Portland Trough is a large, WNW-ESE
striking synclinorium which straddles the Victoria South Australia border. It is
approximately 40 km wide and 100 km long and contains in excess of 1200 ms
(TWT) of upper Late Cretaceous Early Tertiary sediments that thin up on to
the adjacent Northern Platform and Bridgewater High (see Figures C24 and
C37 for a more detailed explanation of these features).
One structure which does not fall into either of these three groups is the Hunter
Sub-basin (Moore et al., 2000). The Hunter Sub-basin is a large, elongate, NW-
trending basin situated approximately 200 km offshore in water 4000 to 5000 m
deep (Figure C32). The sub-basin covers an area in excess of 40,000 km2 and
contains a relatively thin Cretaceous section overlain by a few hundred metres
of Tertiary volcanics and sediments.

128 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C12

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 129


> Figure C13 Bouguer gravity image

The Otway Basin has an excellent, high resolution, onshore offshore


gravity coverage which shows up many of the structural elements previously
referred to in Figures C10, C11 and C12 such as the Penola Trough, Merino
High, Lake Condah High, Ardonachie Trough, Morenda Trough, Port
Campbell Embayment, Stoneyford High, Ombersely Trough, Moorlie High,
Otway Ranges, Torquay Sub-basin, Bellarine High and Sorrento Graben.
The onshore component of the image is based on gravity data acquired over
the past 50 years by petroleum exploration companies, AGSO-Geoscience
Australia (AGSO), Geological Survey of Victoria and Melbourne University.
The offshore component of the image is a grid of Bouguer gravity anomalies
corrected for bathymetric differences. This grid is based on offshore ship-
borne gravity data acquired by petroleum exploration companies and AGSO.
The offshore gravity data was compiled and levelled by Des Fitzgerald &
Associates for Minerals and Petroleum Victoria in 2000. A good summary of
the history of gravity exploration in the Otway Basin, both onshore and
offshore, can be found in Geological Survey of Victoria (1995, p.43-45).

13
The Penola Trough shows up as a prominent, NW-trending, ellipsoidal-shaped
gravity low in the top-left corner of the image, terminating in the SE against a
large, triangular-shaped gravity high (Merino High). The Ardonachie Trough
shows up to the southeast of the Merino High as a small, elongate, NW-

C trending gravity low immediately north of a larger, ellipsoidal-shaped gravity


high (Lake Condah High). The Morenda Trough shows up to the east of the
Ardonachie Trough as another small, similar-shaped, NW-trending gravity low
situated at the northeastern end of a broad, NE-trending gravity high
(Warrnambool High) that extends south-westward all the way to the coast.
The Port Campbell Embayment shows up to the southeast of the
Warrnambool High as a large, NE-trending, gravity low flanked to the east by
a small, N-trending gravity high (Stoneyford High). The northern boundary of
the Otway Basin is particularly well defined in this part of the basin by a
sharp change in the gravity gradient.
The Otway Ranges show up as a large NE-trending gravity high which tapers
and plunges towards the northeast. It is flanked to the northwest by a
slightly smaller, NE-trending, rectangular-shaped gravity low (Colac Sub-
basin), inside of which several Late Jurassic Early Cretaceous half-grabens
and highs are visible (Ombersely Trough, Moorlie High), and Late Miocene
Pliocene highs (Barongarook High).
The Nerita Deep shows up as a pronounced, NE-trending, gravity low to the
southeast of the Otway Ranges. The Sorrento Graben is an extension of
this gravity low into Port Philip Bay. The Sorrento Graben is bounded to the
west by a small, NE-trending gravity high (Bellarine High) and to the east by
a large, NE-trending gravity high (Mornington High) which extends down the
eastern side of the Torquay Sub-basin (Nerita Deep / Snail Terrace).
PC Port Campbell gas fields
G Geographe Field
M Minerva Field
T Thylacine Field
L La Bella Field

130 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C13

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 131


> Figure C14 Total magnetic intensity image

Figure C14 is a colour image of the total magnetic intensity (TMI) field for
the Otway Basin. The grid is a compilation of four airborne surveys
stitched together by the Geological Survey of Victoria (GSV). The
onshore part of the image comprises data from the Penola and Colac
Surveys. The Penola Survey (1500 m line spacing) was acquired by
AGSO in 1992 and covers the South Australian side of the basin. The
Colac Survey (200 m line spacing) was acquired by GSV in 1999 and
covers the Victorian side. The offshore part of the image comprises data
acquired by the Bass Strait Encounter Bay and Otway Basin surveys.
The Bass Strait Encounter Bay Survey (6500 m line spacing) was
acquired by Haematite Exploration in 1961 and covers the Torquay Sub-
basin and King Island High (Geological Survey of Victoria, 1995). The
Otway Basin Survey (500 m line spacing) was acquired by AGSO in 1994
(Gunn et al., 1995) and covers all of the offshore Otway Basin west of the
King Island High as far out as the 1000 m isobath.
Several features stand out on the TMI image. The most obvious are: 1) the
high frequency noise over the onshore part of the basin north of a line

14
running E-W through Cape Nelson and along the southern side of the
Bellarine Peninsula; 2) the three closely-spaced, N-trending lineaments to
the southeast of Cape Otway; and 3) the variation in the magnetic response
of the Eumeralla Formation in the Otway Ranges. The high frequency noise
C onshore is due to the presence of near-surface Neogene basalt flows
(Newer Volcanics) which blanket a large part of the basin and outcropping
basement to the north. The flows are up to 50 m thick in places and
generally thicken toward the north. The three N-trending lineaments
southeast of Cape Otway are interpreted as fault-bounded Cambrian
greenstone belts that have been truncated to the north by a NNE-trending
fault which dips underneath the Otway Ranges (Moore, in prep.). The
greenstones are thought to be an extension of the Heathcote Greenstone
Belt which outcrops onshore to the north in the Barrabool Hills near
Geelong. The cause of the variation in the magnetic response of the
Eumeralla Formation in the Otway Ranges is unclear. As can be seen in the
TMI image, the Otway Ranges can be divided into two, parallel NE-trending
belts. The eastern belt has a muted response while the western belt has a
high-frequency response. This disparity suggests the western zone has a
higher magnetite content. This may reflect a change in the composition of
the sandstones in the Eumeralla Formation or a change in metamorphic
grade and/or burial history (Geological Survey of Victoria, 1995).
Several attempts have been made to interpret magnetic data in the Otway
Basin. Most of the work to date has either centred on the South
Australian side of the basin (e.g. Finlayson et al., 1993; OBrien et al.,
1994) or offshore (e.g. Gunn et al., 1995; Webster, 1997). Minerals and
Petroleum Victoria is currently finalising an interpretation of basement
basin relationships in the Victorian Otway Basin using aeromagnetic,
gravity and regional structural data (Moore, in prep.).
PC Port Campbell gas fields
G Geographe Field
M Minerva Field
T Thylacine Field
L La Bella Field

132 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C14

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 133


> Figure C15 Biostratigraphic subdivision

The Late Jurassic Tertiary biostratigraphy of the Victorian Otway Basin is


summarised in Figure C15. The zonation is a compilation of several widely
used zonations spanning different periods of the basins history.
The Late Jurassic Early Cretaceous spore-pollen zonation is from Morgan
et al. (1995). The Otway Group is entirely non-marine except in the far
west of the Otway Basin where a paralic dinoflagellate assemblage of
possible Diconodium davidii Zone age has been observed in a few wells.
Morgan et al. (1995) divide the Late Jurassic Early Cretaceous into seven
zones and six subzones based largely on range data from the Otway Basin.
The Late Cretaceous spore-pollen and dinoflagellate zonation is from
Partridge (1997a,b). The zonation is based partly on range data from the
Otway Basin and consists of five spore-pollen zones and eleven
dinoflagellate zones. In general, terrestrial spores and pollen are more
abundant and diverse in the lower half of the Sherbrook Group than in the
upper half, whereas dinoflagellates are more abundant and diverse in the
upper half of the Sherbrook Group than the lower half.

15
The Tertiary spore-pollen and dinoflagellate zonations are from Stover &
Partridge (1982) and Partridge (1976) respectively. The spore-pollen
zonation is based on data from the offshore Gippsland and Bass basins,
and the dinoflagellate zonation on data from offshore Gippsland and New
C Zealand. The spore-pollen zonation consists of ten spore-pollen zones and
five subzones which span the entire Tertiary. The dinoflagellate zonation, in
comparison, comprises thirteen zones but only covers the Early Tertiary as
far up as the early Oligocene.

134 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C15

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 135


> Figure C16 Stratigraphy Otway Group

The Otway Group in Victoria is divided into three units called the Casterton
Formation, Crayfish Subgroup and Eumeralla Formation. The log response
of these units in the Digby-1 well located near the Victorian - South
Australia border is illustrated in Figure C16.
The Casterton Formation is a 26 to 535 m thick sequence of Tithonian -
Berriasian (R. watherooensis Zone - lower C. australiensis Zone)
carbonaceous shale, siltstone, sandstone and minor basalt and trachyte
that unconformably overlie Palaeozoic basement (see also Figures C10
and C34). The sediments accumulated in a lacustrine swamp margin
environment in small fault-bounded depressions that developed during the
early stages of the initial rift event. The formation is divided into three sub-
units or sequences in the Casterton-1 well called (in ascending
stratigraphic order) J1, J2 and J3 (Lavin & Muscatello, 1997). J1
comprises the basal basalts and trachytes intersected on the Kanawinka
Terrace and in the Ardonachie Trough. J2 is a transgressive sandstone
present in the majority of wells that intersect the Casterton Formation. J3
is a thin, blocky sandstone seen in most wells. The subdivisions A, B and

16
C, seen in the Digby-1 well (Figure C16), correspond approximately to J1,
J2 and J3.
The Pretty Hill Formation unconformably overlies Palaeozoic basement and

C conformably overlies Casterton Formation (Parker, 1995; Ryan et al.,


1995). It consists of a basal fine- to coarse-grained quartz sandstone unit
(Pretty Hill Sandstone), 10 to 421 m thick, overlain in some wells by an
interbedded carbonaceous shale / fine- to medium grained quartz
sandstone sequence 16 to 749 m thick (Pretty Hill Sand/Shale). The
sediments accumulated in a braided river environment and contain
Valanginian Barremian spore-pollen (upper C. australiensis Zone - F.
wonthaggiensis Zone).
The Laira Formation is a sequence of interbedded mudstone and siltstone
up to 888 m thick that conformably overlies Pretty Hill Formation (Morton
et al., 1995). The sediments accumulated in a fluvial-lacustrine
environment and contain upper Valanginian Barremian spore-pollen (F.
wonthaggiensis Zone).
The Eumeralla Formation is a sequence of interbedded fine- to medium-
grained volcaniclastic sandstone, mudstone and coal that unconformably
overlies Palaeozoic basement and the Casterton, Pretty Hill and Laira
formations. The sediments accumulated in a fluvial - lacustrine
environment (Felton, 1997a,b) and contain Aptian Albian (P. notensis
Zone - P. pannosus Zone) spore-pollen. The thickest reported intersection
is 2581 m (Ross Creek-1: 814 3395 mKB), although seismic data
suggests it could be in excess of 3000 m thick. Apatite fission track
analysis of detrital apatite, titanite and zircon in the Eumeralla Formation
(Gleadow & Duddy, 1981) indicate the volcaniclastic detritus was derived
from volcanoes the same age as the sediments (Aptian-Albian).
Palaeocurrent measurements (Bryan et al., 1997) indicate these volcanoes
lay to the east of the Gippsland and Otway basins, with sediment
transported westwards through the former and into the latter.

136 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C16

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 137


> Figure C17 Stratigraphy Sherbrook Group

The Sherbrook Group in Victoria is divided into seven units called the
Waarre and Flaxman formations, the Belfast Mudstone, Nullawarre
Greensand, Skull Creek Mudstone, Paaratte Formation and Timboon Sand
Member. The log response of these units in Port Campbell-4 in the Port
Campbell Embayment is illustrated in Figure C17 and their distribution
within the basin in Figure C18.
The Waarre Formation is a 6 636 m thick sequence of Turonian fluvial to
marginal marine sandstone, mudstone and coal that unconformably overlies
Eumeralla Formation. It is divided into three units onshore called (in
ascending stratigraphic order) A (a fining upward sequence), B (siltstone
and interbedded calcareous sandstones) and C (coarse-grained quartz
sandstone) (Buffin, 1989).
The Flaxman Formation is a 16 180 m thick sequence of marginal marine to
open marine mudstone, siltstone, sandstone and coal (Tickell et al., 1992)
that accumulated in a back-beach, lagoon, estuarine, interdistributary bay to
offshore marine environment (Buffin, 1989; Morgan, 1986). It is late Turonian

17
in age and conformably overlies Waarre Formation (Partridge, 1997a,b).
The Belfast Mudstone is a 9 1700 m thick sequence of pro-deltaic pale
grey to black, pyritic, silty mudstone and minor sandstone that conformably
overlies the Flaxman Formation (Tickell et al., 1992). It ranges from
C Coniacian to Late Maastrichtian in age. On wireline logs, the formation
has a monotonous, high gamma ray character with sandstone occurring as
distinctive, thin, upward coarsening interbeds.
The Nullawarre Greensand is a shallow marine, fine to coarse grained
glauconitic sandstone (Hawkins & Dellenbach, 1971) up to 388 m thick
(Geological Survey of Victoria, 1995). It contains Late Santonian spore-
pollen and microplankton and typically has an upward-coarsening log
profile. Landward, the formation passes into more proximal facies
equivalents of the Paaratte Formation, while seaward it interfingers laterally
with Belfast Mudstone.
The Skull Creek Mudstone (Laing et al., 1989) is a pro-deltaic pale grey to
black silty mudstone up to 208 m thick that conformably overlies
Nullawarre Greensand. Lithologically, it is similar to the older Belfast
Mudstone and is difficult to distinguish from the latter in wells where the
Nullawarre Greensand or its equivalent is thin or absent.
The Paaratte Formation is a 5 - 1497 m thick sequence of Campanian
marine to coastal plain sandstone and shale that gradationally overlies, and
laterally interfingers with Belfast Mudstone, Skull Creek Mudstone and
Nullawarre Greensand.
The Timboon Sandstone is a sequence of medium to coarse grained
sandstone and minor micaceous, silty mudstone (Morton et al., 1995) that
gradationally overlies, and laterally interfingers with, the Paaratte
Formation. It ranges from Late Campanian to Late Maastrichtian in age.
The sandstones have blocky to fining upward log profiles interpreted as
low sinuosity fluvial channel fills deposited in the upper delta plain
environment. The presence of inter-distributary bay facies between fluvial
facies suggests periodic drowning of the fluvial system.

138 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C17

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 139


> Figure C18 Distribution of Sherbrook Group units

The distribution of the Waarre Formation, Flaxman Formation, Belfast


Mudstone, Nullawarre Greensand, Skull Creek Mudstone and Paaratte
Formation in the central and eastern Otway Basin is illustrated in Figure C18.
The map is based on intersections reported in petroleum exploration well
completion reports and ground water bore reports. None of the units crop
out onshore and none of them except the Paaratte Formation / Timboon
Sandstone extend east of the Purrumbete Fault.
The Waarre Formation has been intersected in more than 45 petroleum
exploration wells and ground water bores in the central and eastern Otway
Basin. The distribution of the wells and bores indicates the subcrop edge of
the Waarre Formation onshore is highly irregular and extends up to 30 km
inland in places. Offshore, it occurs as far east as Prawn-1A, Eric The Red-1
and Loch Ard-1 on the Prawn Platform, and as far west as Normanby-1 in the
Voluta Trough. Its southern limit is uncertain, but seismic observation
suggests it probably extends a significant distance offshore.
The Flaxman Formation is restricted in its distribution to the Port Campbell

18
Embayment Shipwreck Trough Prawn Platform area at the eastern end of
the basin, and to the Voluta Trough Portland Trough area near the Victoria
South Australia border. The formation has been intersected in about 25
petroleum exploration wells and ground water bores in these areas, and

C conformably overlies Waarre Formation.


The Belfast Mudstone blankets a large part of the central and eastern Otway
Basin. The formation has been intersected in over 60 petroleum exploration
wells and ground water bores, and unconformably overlies the Eumeralla,
Waarre and Flaxman formations. The subcrop edge of Belfast Mudstone
onshore is relatively straight and parallels the northern limit of the Otway
Group.
The Nullawarre Greensand is restricted in its distribution to the Port Campbell
Embayment, Tyrendarra Embayment and Mussel Platform. The formation has
been intersected in approximately 20 petroleum exploration wells and ground
water bores and conformably overlies Belfast Mudstone. The Skull Creek
Mudstone is currently restricted in its distribution to the centre of the Port
Campbell Embayment where the type section is located (Skull Creek-1). It is
possible the formation extends over a much larger area as it and the Belfast
Mudstone are lithologically very similar and can only be differentiated by age.
The Paaratte Formation (incl. Timboon Sandstone) blankets a large part of the
central and eastern Otway Basin like the Belfast Mudstone. Its northern limit
onshore is also similar to the Belfast Mudstone except in the east of the
basin where it extends a further 50 km northeastwards up the Colac Sub-
basin and is present on the Prawn Platform in Prawn-1A, Eric The Red-1 and
Loch Ard-1. Its southern limit is poorly constrained. It is absent in Triton-1
and appears to pinch out south of the present day shelf break.
The distribution of Eastern View Group sediments of Late Cretaceous age is
also shown in Figure C18. The sediments are restricted to the offshore part
of the Torquay Sub-basin and do not extend onshore (Messent et al., 1999).
Palynological data indicates the sediments are upper Late Cretaceous (N.
senectus F. longus) in age and are equivalent in time to the Skull Creek
Mudstone, Paaratte Formation and Timboon Sandstone.

140 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C18

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 141


> Figure C19 Stratigraphy Wangerrip Group

The Wangerrip Group (WG) in Victoria is divided into four units called (in
ascending stratigraphic order) the K/T Shale, Pebble Point Formation,
Pember Mudstone and Dilwyn Formation. The log response of these units
is illustrated in Figure C17 and their distribution within the basin is shown
in Figure C20.
The K/T Shale is a thin, dark-grey shale up to 8 m thick that unconformably
overlies the Paaratte Formation / Timboon Sandstone. Previously the unit
has been included in the Pebble Point Formation. The shale contains late
Maastrichtian Palaeocene spore-pollen (upper F. longus - lower L. balmei
Zone) and dinoflagellates (M. druggii Zone P. pyrophorum Zone)
(Partridge, 1997a,b) and is interpreted as a flooding surface associated with
the break-up of Australia and Antarctica. In recent work, the K/T Shale in
the Otway Basin is referred to as the Massacre Shale (Partridge, 2001).
The Pebble Point Formation is a sequence of Late Maastrichtian
Palaeocene carbonaceous sandy claystone, granule conglomerate and fine-
to coarse-grained quartz sandstone up to 76 m thick that unconformably

19
overlies the Paaratte Formation / Timboon Sandstone and conformably
overlies the K/T Shale. The sandstones are ferruginous in part and contain
chamositic oolites and pisolites as well as glauconite (Tabassi & Davey,
1986). The sediments contain Late Maastrichtian Palaeocene spore-

C pollen (upper F. longus Zone upper L. balmei Zone) and microplankton


(M. druggii Zone - E. crassitabulata Zone) and accumulated in a low
energy, marginal marine environment with little clastic input (Morgan, 1985,
1986; White, 1995; Morton et al., 1995).
The Pember Mudstone is a silty claystone up to 490 m thick that
conformably overlies Pebble Point Formation. The claystone accumulated
in a pro-deltaic environment (Morton et al., 1995; Geological Survey of
Victoria, 1995) and contains Early Eocene spore-pollen (M. diversus Zone).
The Dilwyn Formation is a sequence of shallow marine coastal plain
sandstone and mudstone up to 1020 m thick that conformably overlies
Pember Mudstone. The sediments contain Early to Middle Eocene spore-
pollen (Lower M. diversus Zone - P. asperopolus Zone).
In the past few years, it has become increasingly apparent that the
lithostratigraphic subdivision of the WG is oversimplified and a sequence
stratigraphic framework should be adopted instead. Seismic observations
(see Figure C19) indicate the WG can be divided into two sequences: 1) a
basal, thin, Late Maastrichtian - Early Palaeocene marine transgressive
sequence, and 2) an upper, thicker, strongly-progradational Late Palaeocene
to Eocene nearshore-marine to coastal plain sequence (Arditto, 1995; Lavin
& Naim, 1995). Well data indicate the lower sequence comprises
sediments that have been previously correlated with the K/T Shale and
lower half of the Pebble Point Formation, while the upper sequence
comprises sediments previously assigned to the upper half of the Pebble
Point Formation, the Pember Mudstone, and Dilwyn Formation.
Figure C19 is a seismic line (OP80-59) showing the progradational nature
of the WG. The prograding sequence (largely Pember Mudstone) is
overlain by a series of strong sub-parallel events representing top-set beds
assigned to the Dilwyn Formation.
Location of the seismic line is shown on Figures C11 and C12.

142 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C19

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 143


> Figure C20 Distribution of Wangerrip Group units

The distribution of the K/T Shale, Pebble Point Formation, Pember


Mudstone and Dilwyn Formation in the central and eastern Otway Basin is
illustrated in Figure C20. The map is mainly based on intersections
reported in petroleum exploration well completion reports and ground
water bore reports, but also includes information from GSV reports and
surface geological maps, and seismic data.
In Victoria, the Wangerrip Group is limited in its distribution to the
continental shelf and onshore part of the basin where it extends up to 50
km inland and as far east as the southwestern end of the Colac Sub-basin.
The K/T Shale is restricted in its distribution to the Portland Trough
Voluta Trough area near the VIC SA border and the Port Campbell
Mussel Platform Prawn Platform area to the east. The Pebble Point
Formation, Pember Mudstone and Dilwyn Formation, in comparison, are far
more extensive and occur over a much wider area. Bore and well data for
these units indicate the northern limit of the Pebble Point Formation,
Pember Mudstone and Dilwyn Formation onshore are remarkably similar
and run parallel with the northern limit of the Otway Group. Outcrop of

20
these three units is limited to a series of coastal cliffs southeast of Port
Campbell near Princetown (Arditto, 1995). The K/T Shale is not exposed
at this locality. Offshore, the Wangerrip Group extends as far east as the
Prawn Platform and as far west as the Victorian South Australian border.
C It has been intersected in all of the offshore wells except those in the
Torquay Sub-basin.
The distribution of the Eastern View Group sediments of Early Tertiary age
is also illustrated in Figure C20. Examination of bore records and surface
geological maps indicates the Eastern View Group occurs onshore in the
Colac Sub-basin and Anglesea Depression, and offshore in the Torquay
Sub-basin. It also extends up onto the Nepean High and Mornington High
to the east. The Eastern View Group crops out on the coast near the
township of Eastern View and in several open-pit coal mines inland of
Anglesea. It also crops out in several places on the west side of the
Mornington Peninsula about 10 km south of Frankston.

144 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C20

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 145


> Figure C21 Top Basement time structure map

The Top Basement TWT structure map (Figure C21) highlights the Late
Jurassic Early Cretaceous structure of the Otway Basin. The grid is based
on mapping done by Minerals and Petroleum Victoria, Primary Industries and
Resources South Australia, Origin Energy and Cooper (1995b).
The main feature to note in this image is the variation in the orientation of the
Late Jurassic Early Cretaceous troughs and highs along the length of the
basin. At the western and eastern ends of the basin, the troughs and highs
are oriented both NE-SW and E-W (Robe Trough, St. Clair Trough, Rivoli
Trough, Lake Eliza High, Beachport High, Elingamite Trough, Gellibrand
Trough, Ombersely Trough, Nerita Deep, Snail Terrace). Those in the centre
are oriented NW-SE (Penola Trough, Tantanoola Trough, Kalangadoo High,
Hatherleigh High, Tahara Trough, Branxholme High, Ardonachie Trough, Lake
Condah High). This variation in the orientation of the Late Jurassic Early
Cretaceous troughs and highs has resulted in considerable debate over the
extension direction during this period. Some worker believe it was oriented
NW-SE (Willcox & Stagg, 1990; Willcox et al., 1992; OBrien et al., 1994),
whereas others believe it was NNW-SSE (Cooper, 1995a,b; Cooper & Hill,

21
1997), N-S (Boeuf & Doust,1975; Ellenor, 1976; Hill et al., 1994a) or NNE-
SSW (Etheridge et al., 1985, 1987; Smith, 1988).

146 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C21

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 147


> Figure C22 Top Crayfish Subgroup time structure map

The Top Crayfish TWT structure map is a composite grid based on


mapping done by Minerals and Petroleum Victoria, Primary Industries and
Resources South Australia, Origin Energy and Cooper (1995b).
The main features to note in this image are: 1) the southwesterly regional
dip of the Top Crayfish Subgroup surface in the western and central parts
of the basin relative to the eastern part where it dips towards the south,
and 2) the absence of Crayfish Subgroup sediments on some of the
basement highs in the western and central parts of the basin (e.g.
Beachport, Hatherleigh, Kalangadoo, Lake Condah, Branxholme).

22
C

148 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C22

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 149


> Figure C23 Top Eumeralla Formation time structure map

Figure C23 is a TWT structure map for the top of the Eumeralla Formation
(Top Otway Group) based on extensive regional mapping done by Minerals
and Petroleum Victoria, Primary Industries and Resources South Australia,
Origin Energy and Cooper (1995b). The main features to note in this
image are: 1) the regional dip of the top of the Eumeralla Formation in the
western and central parts of the basin; 2) the large depression to the
southwest of the Tartwaup-Mussel Hingeline; 3) the intensity of faulting at
the top Eumeralla level; and 4) the N-S oriented trough (Shipwreck Trough)
to the southwest of the Otway Ranges.
Several structural features previously referred to in Figures C10 and C11
are visible in this image. These include the Crayfish, Mumbannar, Mussel
and Prawn platforms; the Shipwreck and Voluta troughs, the Bridgewater
Arch, and the Port Campbell Embayment. The faulting visible at the Top
Eumeralla Formation level is largely a response of the Late Cretaceous rift
event. Most of the faulting associated with this event is located to the
south of the Tartwaup-Mussel Hingeline in the Voluta Trough. The faults
are largely oriented NW-SE with down-to-the-south throws. The Tartwaup-

23
Mussel Hingeline shows up particularly well in this image as a series of en-
echelon, down-to-the-south faults, with individual throws of up to 2
seconds TWT. The fault system is concave to the southwest. The
northern end of the Shipwreck Trough starts to splay to the NW and NE,
C and spreads out onshore where it has a semi-circular, bowl-shaped
appearance open to the south.

150 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C23

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 151


> Figure C24 Top Sherbrook Group time structure map

The top of the Sherbrook Group has also been extensively mapped in the
Otway Basin, both onshore and offshore, as the event coincides with the
breakup of Australia and Antarctica. The image on the opposite page is
based on mapping done by Minerals and Petroleum Victoria, Primary
Industries and Resources South Australia, and Oil Company of Australia.
Several structural features previously referred to in Figures C11 and C12
are visible in this image including the Portland Trough and Bridgewater
High. The Portland Trough shows up as an elongate NW-trending
depression approximately 120 km long and 25 km wide centred on the
peninsula SW of Portland. About two-thirds of the trough is located
onshore; the other third offshore. The Bridgewater High is located
offshore to the SW of the Portland Trough and shows up as a broad, SE-
plunging anticline about 25 km wide.
The distribution of faulting at the Top Sherbrook Group level is quite
interesting as most of it is located to the south of the Tartwaup Mussel
Hingeline in the Voluta Trough. In this image, the Tartwaup Mussel
Hingeline is not as well defined compared to the Top Eumeralla TWT

24
structure map, but its arcuate trace is still visible. North of it, there is very
little faulting at the Top Sherbrook level when compared to the south,
where the faults have a strong NW-SE orientation and are characterised by
relatively small, down-to-the-south, throws. The faulting decreases in
C intensity towards the SE, and virtually dies out SE of the Portland Trough
and Bridgewater High.
Another interesting feature which shows up on the Top Sherbrook Group
grid are a series of SW-plunging folds visible offshore SW of the Otway
Ranges. These folds are also visible in the Top Eumeralla and Top
Wangerrip TWT structure images (Figures C23 and C25) and extend
onshore into the Colac Sub-basin and Otway Ranges. The Port Campbell
Embayment is also clearly evident in this image as a semi-circular
depression facing southwest. The Shipwreck Trough has no expression at
this level.

152 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C24

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 153


> Figure C25 Top Wangerrip Group time structure map

The top of the Wangerrip Group has so far only been mapped seismically
offshore in the Otway Basin as it is not considered by exploration
companies to be an exploration target onshore. The TWT structure map
shown in Figure C25 is a composite grid based on mapping done by
Minerals and Petroleum Victoria and Oil Company of Australia. The main
features to note at the Top Wangerrip level are: 1) the SW-plunging folds
visible to the southwest of the Otway Ranges, and 2) the Late Tertiary
channelling along the shelf break and in deep-water.

25
C

154 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C25

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 155


> Figure C26 Isochron Casterton Formation - Crayfish Subgroup

The size, orientation, and distribution of the half-grabens that formed during
the first rift event is clearly illustrated in the Casterton Formation
Crayfish Subgroup isochron. In South Australia, five troughs have been
mapped (Robe, Penola, Tantanoola, St. Clair, Rivoli) and an equal number
of basement highs (Beachport, Lake Eliza, Hatherleigh, Lucindale,
Kalangadoo). The Robe and Penola troughs are the largest of the five
troughs and contain up to 5800 m and 5000 m of Crayfish Subgroup
sediments respectively. In the Victorian part of the Otway Basin, the
troughs are not as well developed as they are in South Australia, and
contain significantly less Crayfish Subgroup sediments (3000 3500 m).

26
C

156 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C26

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 157


> Figure C27 Eumeralla Formation isochron

The variation in the thickness of the Eumeralla Formation within the Otway
Basin is illustrated in Figure C27. Two trends are apparent in this image:
1) a rapid decrease in the thickness of the Eumeralla Formation towards
the northern margin of the basin onshore between A and A, and 2) a
gradual decrease in the thickness of the Eumeralla Formation across the
length of the basin from east (max. 2780 ms) to west (max. 1600 ms).
The rapid decrease in the thickness of the Eumeralla Formation in the
eastern half of the basin towards the northern margin is due to Late
Cretaceous uplift and erosion. This thinning is clearly evident in two
seismic lines from the onshore eastern Otway Basin (see Figure C38).
Burial history modelling (Cooper & Hill, 1997) indicates between 500 and
2000 m of Eumeralla Formation was removed from the northern margin of
the basin during the Late Cretaceous (80 70 Ma), with the amount of
stripping decreasing toward the south. This event is highlighted in Figure
C49, which illustrates the age of the top of the Eumeralla Formation in the
subsurface across the basin and at the outcrop level. East of the
Yarramyljup Fault (see Figure C49 for location), the age of the top of the

27
Eumeralla Formation in the subsurface increases from P. pannosus Zone in
the south near the coast to P. notensis Zone along the northern margin of
the basin (see Figure C15 for biostratigraphic zonation).

C The gradual decrease in the thickness of the Eumeralla Formation from


east to west is possibly due to the westerly direction of sediment
transport. Analysis of palaeocurrent orientations from the Eumeralla
Formation in the Otway Ranges, and its time-equivalent in the Gippsland
Basin, the Wonthaggi Formation, indicate the volcaniclastic detritus which
characterises both these units was derived from volcanoes situated to the
east of the Gippsland Basin (Constantine, 2001). The change in the
thickness is not due to the Late Cretaceous uplift and erosion event
mentioned in the previous paragraph because the thickness of the
Eumeralla Formation in the eastern half of the basin where the top of the
unit is P. pannosus Zone in age (i.e. beneath the present day coast) is
about 1 second thicker (TWT) than the thickness of the Eumeralla
Formation in the western half of the basin where the top of the unit is P.
pannosus Zone (see Figure C49).

158 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C27

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 159


> Figure C28 Sherbrook Group isochron

The Sherbrook Group isochron (Figure C28) shows the main area of Late
Cretaceous sedimentation in the Otway Basin was the Voluta Trough. The
Sherbrook Group in this part of the basin is nearly 3 seconds thick TWT.
North of the Voluta Trough, the Sherbrook Group thins rapidly across the
Tartwaup Mussel Hingeline on to the Crayfish, Mumbannar, Mussel and
Prawn platforms (see Figure C37). The Sherbrook Group in this part of
the basin ranges from 0 500 ms thick TWT and forms a broad sheet up
to 50 km in width across its entire length.
The prominent N-S oriented feature about 15 km wide and 70 km long west
of the Otway Ranges offshore is the Shipwreck Trough. Seismic data
indicates the Shipwreck Trough contains up to 1250 ms (TWT) of Sherbrook
Group sediments; approximately twice the thickness of the Sherbrook Group
on the adjacent Mussel and Prawn platforms (see Figure C35).
The NW-SE oriented feature offshore of Cape Portland in the Voluta
Trough is the Bridgewater Arch. The Bridgewater Arch is a Late
Cretaceous structural high approximately 40 50 km wide, over which the

28
Sherbrook Group thins.
The Sherbrook Group is not present in the Torquay Sub-basin. Time
equivalents of the upper part of the Sherbrook Group are represented by
the Eastern View Group.
C

160 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C28

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 161


> Figure C29 Wangerrip Group isochron

The Wangerrip isochron (Figure C29) illustrates the variations in thickness


of the Wangerrip Group offshore. The main feature to note in this image is
the Portland Trough which shows up as a prominent NW-trending
depocentre southeast of the peninsula at Portland. Seismic data (see
Figure C37) indicates the trough contains up to 1250 ms (TWT) of
Wangerrip Group sediments that thin toward the NE and SW.
The Wangerrip Group is not present in the Torquay Sub-basin.
Time equivalents of the Wangerrip Group are represented by the Eastern
View Group.

29
C

162 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C29

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 163


> Figure C30 Nirranda Heytesbury Group isochron

Figure C30 is a combined isochron for the Nirranda and Heytesbury


groups. The isochron only covers the Victorian part of the offshore Otway
Basin because neither the base of the Nirranda Group nor the top of the
Wangerrip Group has been mapped to any great extent onshore or
offshore in South Australia.
The main features to note in this image are: 1) the rapid thickening and
thinning of the Nirranda and Heytesbury groups across the present day
shelf-break (200 m isobath), and 2) the SW-plunging folds visible to the
southwest of the Otway Ranges. On the shelf, the Nirranda and
Heytesbury groups have a combined thickness of between 300 900 ms
(TWT), increasing to 1480 ms (TWT) on the shelf break, before thinning to
200 300 ms (TWT) on the continental slope. The SW-plunging folds to
the southwest of the Otway Ranges are Late Miocene Pliocene in age
and can be traced onshore.

30
C

164 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C30

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 165


> Figure C31 Regional seismic line A

Line A is a 340 km long onshore-offshore composite seismic line that


extends from the northern margin of the Otway Basin east of the Merino
High, south-southwest through Lindon-1 into the Portland Trough, and then
offshore through the Voluta Trough via Bridgewater Bay-1 (See Figures
C10-C12, C21-C23 and C28). The onshore part of the composite is made
up of six lines acquired between 1994 and 1997. The offshore part of the
composite consists of a single deep seismic line (16 sec TWT) acquired by
AGSO in 1994-1995. The gap between the onshore lines and offshore
lines is a data gap.
The Late Jurassic Tertiary section on this line has been divided into four
megasequences representing (in ascending stratigraphic order) the Otway
Group (green), Sherbrook Group (dark brown), Wangerrip Group (light
brown) and Nirranda-Heytesbury groups (blue). Pre-Mesozoic basement is
coloured pink. The main features to note on this line are 1) the change in
thickness of the Nirranda-Heytesbury group sequence over the present-
day shelf-break, 2) the change in thickness of the Wangerrip Group across
the Portland Trough, and 3) the gradual thickening of the Sherbrook Group

31
towards the south. On this line, the Nirranda-Heytesbury group sequence
gradually increases in thickness from north to south, reaching maxima near
the present-day shelf-break. It then thins rapidly over the upper continental
slope and is either very thin or absent over a large part of the lower
C continental slope. The Wangerrip Group, in contrast, is thickest in the axis
of the Portland Trough onshore and thins towards the north and south
(Figure C29). It is restricted in its distribution to the onshore area and
continental shelf, but does not extend onto the continental slope.
The transition on this line from thin Sherbrook Group to thick Sherbrook
Group is not delineated by a major, down-to-the-south normal fault as it is
to the WNW (e.g. Tartwaup Fault) and ESE (e.g. Mussel Fault). Instead,
the Sherbrook Group gradually thickens towards the south. No major
faults are evident, but the Cenomanian Unconformity is difficult to pick up
beneath the Portland and Voluta troughs due to the thickness of the
overlying Sherbrook, Wangerrip, Nirranda and Heytesbury groups.
The Otway Group and Top Basement Unconformity on this line is only
visible onshore north of Lindon-1. Here, the Otway Group thins
northwards and laps up on to Pre-Mesozoic basement. The half-graben
visible to the north of Lindon-1 is the Ardonachie Trough. The high fault
block between Lindon-1 and the Ardonachie Trough is the Lake Condah
High (See also Figures C10, C21 and C22). The Otway Group south of
Lindon-1 also thickens and deepens towards the south, but is relatively
poorly imaged.
The interpretation of the southwest end of this line follows Moore, et al.,
2000, and shows an outer margin high, an area of faulted and uplifted
crust below the lower slope, with significant igneous component.
Seismic line 137-07 is reproduced courtesy of the Australian Geological
Survey Organisation (AGSO).

166 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C31

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 167


> Figure C32 Regional seismic line B

Line B is located approximately 130 km southeast of Line A (See Figures


C10-C12, C21, C22 and C26 for location). The line is approximately 405
km long and extends southwards from the northern margin of the basin
near Purrumbete to the Port Campbell Embayment, and then south-
southwestwards offshore across the Shipwreck Trough, Mussel Platform
and Voluta Trough into water over 5000 m deep. The onshore section of
the composite consists of three shallow (4 6 sec TWT) industry lines
acquired between 1981 and 1991 tied to Port Campbell-1 (PC1), and the
offshore line is a deep (16 sec TWT) line acquired by AGSO in 1994-1995.
The offshore section of the line is tied to five wells: Minerva-1 (M1),
Minerva-2A (M2A), Conan-1 (C1), Mussel-1 (MU1) and La Bella-1 (LB1).
As with Line A, the Late Jurassic Tertiary section on this line has been
divided into four megasequences representing (in ascending stratigraphic
order) the Otway Group (green), Sherbrook Group (dark brown),
Wangerrip Group (light brown) and Nirranda-Heytesbury groups (blue).
Pre-Mesozoic basement is coloured pink. The main features to note on
this line are 1) the presence of a thin sequence of Nirranda and

32
Heytesbury groups on the outer continental slope, 2) the rapid thickening
of the Sherbrook Group south of the Mussel Fault System (MFS), 3) the
folding within the Sherbrook, Wangerrip, Nirranda and Heytesbury groups
on the continental shelf and onshore, and 4) the large roll-over anticlines
C within the Sherbrook Group south of the Mussel Fault.
The MFS is a series of large, normal faults that down-step to the south,
south of La Bella-1. The faults have individual throws of between 300 and
1000 ms (TWT) at the Top Cenomanian level, with a combined throw of
about 5 seconds (TWT). South of the MFS, the Sherbrook Group is up to
4.5 seconds thick (TWT) and thins rapidly towards the south. The
presence of large-scale, south-dipping, down-lap surfaces within the
Sherbrook Group suggest it is a large prograding delta complex fed from
the north.
The Top Basement Unconformity is difficult to map offshore due to noise
and the thickness of the overlying Late Jurassic Tertiary sequence.
Onshore, it is clearly visible on the two northernmost lines where it dips
gently towards the south. Several north-dipping, normal faults can be seen
cutting the Top Basement Unconformity. These faults are associated with
a series of small, asymmetric, Crayfish Subgroup-filled half-grabens that
deepen toward the south.
As in the previous line of section (Figure C31) an outer margin high is
present under the lower slope and separates thick Otway Basin sediments
of Mesozoic age from the Hunter Sub-basin, an area of relatively thin
Cretaceous overlain by a few hundred metres of Tertiary sediments
(Moore, et al., 2000).
Seismic line 137-09 is reproduced courtesy of the Australian Geological
Survey Organisation (AGSO).

168 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C32

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 169


> Figure C33 Regional seismic line C

Line C is another composite seismic section located approximately 85 km


east of Line B (See Figures C10-C12, C21-C23, C26 and C27 for
location). This line is approximately 85 km long and runs along western
flank of the Barrabool Hills south-southeastwards into the Anglesea
Depression, and then offshore into the Torquay Sub-basin. It is made up
of three onshore lines acquired in 1992 and one offshore line acquired in
1988, and has been tied in to four wells: Hindhaugh Creek-1, Anglesea-1,
Nerita-1 and Snail-1.
As with Lines A and B, the Late Jurassic Tertiary megasequences have
been colour-coded. Four megasequences have been interpreted in this
line (in ascending stratigraphic order): the Otway Group (green), Eastern
View Group (brown), Demons Bluff Group (dark blue) and Torquay Group
(light blue). Pre-Mesozoic basement is coloured pink. Although the quality
of the four lines is not good, the overall structure of the basin is still quite
clear. Structural elements visible on this line include the Snail Terrace,
Nerita Deep, Torquay-Sub-basin and Anglesea Depression. The Snail
Terrace shows up at the southern end of the line as a shallow basement

33
high overlain by a thin (up to 2 seconds TWT thickness) veneer of Otway
Group and Tertiary sediments. The Nerita Deep to the north of the Snail
Terrace is a zone of thick Otway Group (up to 3 seconds TWT thickness)
which gradually decreases in thickness northwards onshore to about 1.6
C seconds (TWT) beneath the Barrabool Hills. The two elements are
separated by the Snail Fault (SF) which has just over 2 seconds TWT of
throw at the Top-Basement level.
The Torquay Sub-basin is a Late Cretaceous Tertiary depocentre which
shows up on this composite as an asymmetric synclinorium with its axis
located above the axis of the Nerita Deep. It contains up to 2 seconds
(TWT) of Late Cretaceous Tertiary sediments that thin toward the north
and south. Minor inversion at the top Otway Group and intra-Eastern View
Group levels is visible in several places in the middle of the sub-basin
offshore to the north and south of Nerita-1.
Other structures visible on this line include the Barwon Fault (BF). It shows
up as a prominent south-dipping reflector at the northern end of the line.
Unfortunately, the line does not extend far enough north to see the fault
reach the surface. However, surface maps of the Barrabool Hills area
indicate basement subcrops at shallow depth (< 200 m) immediately to the
north of the Barwon Fault which suggests it is an important basin-bounding
fault with about 1.7 seconds of throw (TWT) at the Top Basement level.

170 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C33

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 171


> Figure C34 Seismic section Digby Trough

The geometry of the Late Jurassic Early Cretaceous Crayfish Subgroup


half-grabens is well illustrated in this N-S seismic line (OMN93-14) across
the Digby and Mocamboro troughs. The line is located at the southern
end of the Merino High where the Eumeralla Formation both outcrops and
subcrops near surface (See Figures C21 and C22). Both troughs are
small, asymmetric half-grabens bounded to the south by a north-dipping
fault. The north-dipping fault through the Digby-1 well is the Digby Fault.
The line is tied to two wells: Digby-1 and Mocamboro-11. Mocamboro-11
was drilled in 1990 by the Geological Survey of Victoria as part of its
Otway Basin stratigraphic drilling program. The well bottomed in
Palaeozoic metasedimentary basement at 1435 mKB after passing through
Eumeralla Formation and Pretty Hill Formation. No significant hydrocarbon
occurrences were intersected although numerous weak oil shows were
observed throughout the Otway Group, with the most common being
crush cut fluorescence in ditch cuttings. Some hydrocarbon fluorescence
was also noted in the conventional and sidewall core samples.

34
Digby-1 was drilled by Gas and Fuel Exploration (GFE) Resources Ltd in
1995. The well is located at the southern end of the Merino High about 10
km to the south of Mocamboro-11, and was designed to test a large Pretty
Hill Formation tilted fault-block. The Pretty Hill Formation in this area was

C thought to directly overlie Palaeozoic basement and be overlain by


Eumeralla Formation. This prognosis proved incorrect and the Pretty Hill
Formation instead turned out to be underlain by Casterton Formation
(1899 - 2088 mKB TD) and overlain by Laira Formation (1102 - 1463
mKB). No hydrocarbon accumulations were encountered; however, weak
oil shows were observed in the upper and middle parts of the Pretty Hill
Formation and the Casterton Formation.
In this line, the top of the Crayfish Subgroup is indicated by the yellow
seismic horizon within the overall Otway Group, which is coloured green.
Pre-Mesozoic basement is coloured pink. The Casterton Formation at the
base of the Otway Group shows up as a thin, discontinuous, high-
amplitude package up-dip and down-dip of Digby-1. A similar thin high-
amplitude interval is visible at the base of Mocamboro Trough as well. The
overlying Crayfish Subgroup is the syn-rift sequence. In this line, it is
approximately 1.1 seconds thick (TWT) in the axis of the Mocamboro
Trough and clearly thickens southwards into the Digby Fault indicating
growth during the Tithonian-Barremian.
The Eumeralla Formation is widely interpreted in the literature as having
accumulated during a period of post-rift sag subsidence because it does not
thicken into the major half-graben faults. To a large degree this is true
except near the base of the unit such as in this line where the Eumeralla
Formation interval beneath the interpreted coal seams clearly thickens into
the Digby Fault. This suggests movement on this fault did not stop at the
end of Crayfish Subgroup but continued up into the Aptian before it died out.

172 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C34

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 173


> Figure C35 Seismic section Shipwreck Trough (Strike Line)

The structure of the Shipwreck Trough is illustrated in this composite


seismic section tied to Champion-1, Pecten-1A and Loch Ard-1. The
trough contains up to 1.25 seconds (TWT) of Late Cretaceous Sherbrook
Group sediments which thin to less than 650 ms (TWT) on to the adjacent
Mussel and Prawn platforms. As can be seen on this line, the Sherbrook
Group is tightly folded in places. The folding on the Prawn Platform is the
seismic expression of the SW plunging folds which are clearly seen on
Figures C24, C25, C29 and C30. Seismic observations indicate the
folding is Late Cretaceous and Late Miocene Pliocene in age.
The top of the principal reservoir target horizon in the eastern Otway
Basin, the Waarre Formation, is indicated by the yellow seismic horizon, in
the lower part of the Sherbrook Group.

35
C

174 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C35

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 175


> Figure C36 Seismic section Shipwreck Trough (Dip Line)

The La Bella and Minerva gas fields are located on opposite flanks of the
Shipwreck Trough. The stratigraphic / structural position of these fields is
demonstrated on line OE80A-1056.
The La Bella gas discovery is located on the western side of the Shipwreck
Trough on the edge of the Mussel Platform about 50 km south of Port
Campbell. The field was discovered by BHP Petroleum (BHPP) in 1993 and
consists of a NE-SW oriented anticline broken into a series of NW-SE oriented
fault blocks which have dip closure along strike and fault dependent closure to
the southwest at the top of the Waarre Formation level. Two gas bearing
sandstones were encountered in the well: a 68 m thick gross gas column in
the Waarre Formation and a 15 m thick gross gas column in the overlying
Flaxman Formation (Geary & Reid, 1998). The gas columns have different RFT
pressures which indicate each column is a separate accumulation. The well
was plugged and abandoned as a sub-commercial gas discovery.
The Minerva gas field is located on the eastern side of the Shipwreck
Trough about 10 km south of Port Campbell. The Minerva structure is

36
interpreted to have initially developed as a faulted anticline in the Late
Cretaceous which was later modified by Late Miocene folding (Geary &
Reid, 1998). The structure consists of two NW-SE striking tilted fault
blocks sealed vertically and laterally by Flaxman Formation and Belfast

C Mudstone. The structure was first identified by Esso Australia in 1981 on


a 1.5 x 1.5 km seismic grid which BHPP reprocessed in 1991. In March
1993, BHPP drilled Minerva-1 to test the northern fault block and
encountered a 133 m gross gas column in Waarre Formation, and two
smaller columns (10 m and 15 m gross) in the overlying Flaxman
Formation. A second well (Minerva-2A) was drilled to test the southern
fault block and it encountered a 111 m gross gas column in the Waarre
Formation. Core of the Waarre Formation showed porosity ranging from
11 to 27% and permeability from 30 mD to over 20 Darcies. The field is
currently a sub-commercial gas discovery awaiting development, but is
expected to come on-stream once the Port Campbell to Adelaide gas
pipeline is built in 2004.
Not all of the wells in the vicinity of the Shipwreck Trough have proved
successful. Mussel-1, for example, was drilled by Esso in 1969 to
evaluate a Waarre Formation tilted fault block closure on the eastern side
of the Mussel Platform near the Shipwreck Trough. The well bottomed in
Waarre Formation at 2450 mKB. No hydrocarbons were encountered and
the well was plugged and abandoned. Examination of seismic lines
acquired by BHPP over the Mussel structure indicates the well was drilled
significantly down-dip of structural crest. Conan-1 was drilled by BHPP in
1995 and is located on the western margin of the Shipwreck Trough. It
was drilled to test a Waarre Formation tilted fault block closure. The well
was drilled to a total depth of 2175 mKB. Good to excellent reservoir
sands were encountered in the Waarre Formation but they proved water
wet. Interestingly, the upper part of the Waarre Formation, the Flaxman
Formation, and lower part of the Belfast Mudstone were absent, most
likely due to uplift and erosion. Current interpretation indicates that the
well was drilled within closure. A lack of cross-fault seal due to sand
development in the upper part of the Belfast Mudstone is thought to be
the most likely reason why the well failed (Geary & Reid, 1998).

176 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C36

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 177


> Figure C37 Regional seismic line Portland Trough

The location of composite seismic line C37 is shown on Figures C11, C12,
C23-C25 and C28-C30. The Portland Trough is a large, WNW-ESE
striking, Late Maastrichtian Early Eocene synclinorium that straddles the
Victorian South Australian border. It is approximately 40 km wide and
100 km long and contains in excess of 1200 ms thick (TWT) of Wangerrip
Group sediments that thin up on to the adjacent Northern Platform /
Mumbannar Platform and Cape Bridgewater High to the northeast and
southwest respectively (Lavin & Naim, 1995). The northeastern margin of
the Portland Trough is delineated by two large, down-to-the-south normal
faults: the Tartwaup-Wanwin Fault Zone and Codrington Fault. The
Bridgewater High is a large ESE-plunging arch located at the southern end
of the Portland Peninsula. The thick Cretaceous depocentre of the Voluta
Trough is clearly visible.

37
C

178 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C37

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 179


> Figure C38 Regional seismic line Colac Sub-basin

Figure C38 is a composite seismic section across the northern end of the
Colac Sub-basin. The location of the section is shown on Figures C10,
C21-C23, C26 and C27. The section is approximately 31 km long and
consists of two lines acquired in 1991 and 1992 by Gas & Fuel Exploration.
The northern end of the section is tied to Warracbarunah-2 that was drilled
by the Geological Survey of Victoria in 1990. Warracbarunah-2 was a
stratigraphic well drilled to test the presence of a previously unidentified
NE-SW striking Early Cretaceous half-graben here called the Ombersely
Trough. The well bottomed in Pretty Hill Formation at a depth of 1527
mKB after penetrating 710 m of Tertiary (0 710 mKB) and 156 m of
Eumeralla Formation (710 866 mKB).
Four megasequences have been interpreted in this line (in ascending
stratigraphic order): the Otway Group (green), Tertiary Eastern View Group
(brown), Demons Bluff Group (dark blue) and Torquay Group (light blue).
The yellow seismic horizon equates to the top of the Crayfish Subgroup.
Pre-Mesozoic basement is coloured pink.

38
The main features to note in this section are: 1) the flat-lying nature of the
Tertiary sediments in the Colac Sub-basin; 2) the inversion monoclines on
the flanks of the Barongarook and Bambra uplifts; 3) the absence of
sediments of Late Cretaceous age; 4) the angular unconformity between

C the Eumeralla Formation and overlying Tertiary northwest of the Colac


Monocline and on the Bambra Uplift; 5) the reverse offset at the Top
Crayfish level on the Colac and Bambra faults, and 6) the increase in
thickness of the Crayfish Subgroup toward the southeast in the Ombersely
and Gellibrand troughs.

180 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C38

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 181


> Figure C39 Petroleum source rocks

Geochemical studies of the onshore Otway Basin suggest all of the


hydrocarbon accumulations that have been encountered onshore are
sourced from the non-marine Otway Group.
The Casterton Formation and Crayfish Subgroup have been geochemically
identified as the source of condensate (Katnook Gas Field) and oil (Wynn-1)
in the Penola Trough of South Australia (Padley et al., 1995; Edwards et al.,
1999). A summary of the source rock potential of the Casterton Formation
occurs in Lavin & Muscatello, 1997. Rock-Eval data indicates the Casterton
Formation in Victoria has an average TOC content of 4.8% (range 0.4 to
45.9%) and HI of 149 (range 34 to 459). Its genetic potential is good with
an average S1+S2 value of 10.3 kg hydrocarbons/tonne (range 0.2 to 100.9
kg). The HI Tmax plot indicates it is made up largely of Type II and Type III
kerogens that suggest it is both oil and gas generative. Organic petrology
studies (Struckmeyer & Felton, 1990) indicate two types of coal are present:
1) a liptinite-rich clarite / inertinite-poor duroclarite variety with detrovitrinite
the main vitrinite maceral subgroup; and 2) a trimacerite-rich variety
consisting largely of inertinite-rich duroclarite and vitrinite-rich clarodurite with
detrovitrinite the dominant vitrinite maceral.

39
The Crayfish Subgroup in South Australia is made up of three units: the
Pretty Hill Formation, Laira Shale and Katnook Sandstone, but only the Pretty
Hill Formation is present to any great extent in Victoria. Analysis of Rock-Eval
C data shows that the Pretty Hill Formation has fair source potential with an
average TOC content of 1.7% (range 0.4 to 13.8%) and HI of 123 (range 20
to 548). Its genetic potential is also fair with an average S1+S2 value of 3.6
kg hydrocarbons/tonne (range 0.3 to 50.4 kg). The HI - Tmax plot indicates it
consists largely of Type III kerogens with some Type II present. This spread
suggests the unit is probably both oil and gas generative, as does its S2/S3
ratio (3.57: range 0.03 - 32.6). Organic petrology studies (Struckmeyer &
Felton, 1990) indicate coals within the unit are vitrinite-rich.
The Eumeralla Formation has been geochemically identified as the source of
waxy crudes recovered from the Windermere Sandstone in Windermere-2, the
Heathfield Sandstone in Windermere-1, the Waarre Formation in Port
Campbell-4, and the Pebble Point Formation in Lindon-1 (McKirdy et al., 1994;
Edwards et al., 1999), as well as the source of gas in the Minerva and La Bella
gas fields (Luxton et al., 1995). The hydrocarbons are thought to be derived
from two coal seam intervals; one of P. notensis Zone age near the base of the
unit, and the other of C. striatus Zone age in the middle (Tupper et al., 1993;
Mehin & Link, 1996, 1997). The two intervals have been intersected in wells
located at either end of the basin (Preston, 1992a,b; Tupper et al., 1993) and
therefore appear to be basin-wide in extent. The seams range from 2 to 3 m
in thickness and are separated by mudstones rich in disseminated organic
matter. Rock-Eval data indicates both lithologies have excellent source
potential with a combined average TOC content of 8.5% (range 0.2 to 66.0%)
and HI of 108.6 (range 16 to 477). Its genetic potential is moderate with an
average S1+S2 value of 14.5 kg hydrocarbons/tonne (range 0.09 to 228.25
kg). The HI - Tmax plot indicates the Eumeralla Formation contains mostly
Type II kerogen with some Type I and Type III present. This spread suggests
the unit is probably both oil and gas generative, as does the S2/S3 ratio (3.27:
range 0.14 to 23.13). Inertinite is the dominant maceral (80 - 90%) followed
by liptinite (5 - 20%) and vitrinite (5 - 10%) (Mehin & Link, 1997). The coals
are largely duroclarite in composition and consist predominantly of vitrinite
(Struckmeyer & Felton, 1990). The DOM-rich claystones consist largely of
vitrinite and liptinite.

182 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C39

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 183


> Figure C40 Maturation Casterton Formation

The distribution of the Casterton Formation in the Victorian part of the


Otway Basin is not well known as it has only been intersected in a few
wells located along the northern margin of the basin between the South
Australia Victoria border and Morenda Trough. Where penetrated, the
Casterton Formation ranges from early mature to mid-mature for oil (Rv =
0.5 1.0%). Its maturity elsewhere in the basin, however, is uncertain. The
geometry of the troughs, coupled with the regional basement dip, suggests
it probably increases in maturity towards the southwest, and is probably gas
mature to over-mature onshore south of its present known range. This
trend is evident in the South Australian part of the Penola Trough where
burial history modelling (Hill, 1995) indicates the Casterton Formation is
presently mid-mature for oil (Rv = 0.7 1.0%) along the troughs northern
flank, and over-mature for gas in its axis. The modelling indicates the
Casterton Formation entered the late mature oil window in the axis of the
Penola Trough about 125 Ma and the gas window about 115 Ma. It then
entered the over-mature window at about 100 Ma at about the same time it
was becoming mid-mature for oil on its northern flank.

C
40

184 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C40

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 185


> Figure C41 Maturation Top Crayfish Subgroup

Vitrinite reflectance data indicates the top of the Crayfish Subgroup in the
central Otway Basin onshore increases in maturity towards the southwest,
ranging from immature along its northern margin (e.g. Garvoc-1; 0.40%) to
gas mature near the coast (e.g. Ross Creek-1: 1.37%). The maturity of
the top of the Crayfish Group offshore is uncertain as it has not been
penetrated in any exploration wells due to the thickness of the overlying
Eumeralla Formation and Sherbrook Group.

C
41

186 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C41

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 187


> Figure C42 Maturation Top Eumeralla Formation

The maturity of the top of the Eumeralla Formation varies markedly across
the Victorian part of the Otway Basin from immature (Rv < 0.5%) to over-
mature (Rv > 2.0%).
In the central part of the basin onshore, the top of the Eumeralla Formation
increases in maturity towards the southwest from immature along the
northern margin of the basin to early-mature near the coast. Offshore, on
the Mussel and Prawn platforms, the top of the Eumeralla Formation is
largely early-mature for oil, increasing to mid-mature in the Shipwreck
Trough. Its maturity in the Voluta Trough, however, is unknown, as the
Eumeralla Formation is not considered an exploration target in this part of
the basin and has not been intersected in any wells due to the thickness of
the overlying Sherbrook Group.
In the eastern part of the Otway Basin, the top of the Eumeralla Formation
ranges from immature to over-mature. In the Colac Sub-basin, the top of
the Eumeralla Formation is largely immature for oil except in the Barwon
Downs Trough where it is early- to mid-mature for oil. In the Otway

42
Ranges, extensive outcrop sampling by Cooper (1995b) indicates the
Eumeralla Formation increases in maturity towards the centre of the ranges
from immature to early-mature along the coast and the fringes of the
ranges, to over-mature in the centre of the ranges at Olangolah-1. When

C contoured, the surface VR data form a distinct, elongate, NE-trending


domal pattern that extends as far north as the Barrabool Hills. The
orientation of the dome suggests the uplift is structurally controlled by
inversion along Late Jurassic - Early Cretaceous normal faults. Cooper
(1995a,b) recognised three structural domains in the Otway Ranges: 1) an
eastern dome where Rv max% increases from 0.4 to 2.0%; 2) a western
plateau bounded by the Devils Elbow Anticline and Bambra Faults where
Rv max% is 0.8 to 1.0 per cent, and 3) the Cape Otway Zone where VR
data show a dramatic increase from 0.5 to 4.0%. Cooper (1995a,b)
interpreted the eastern dome and western plateau to reflect the deep basin
structure of the Otway Ranges. The isolated, high, surface VR values
around Cape Otway are thought to be a function of both extreme burial
under high Early Cretaceous geothermal gradients and/or heating due to
localised igneous intrusion.
The maturity of the top of the Eumeralla Formation in the Torquay Sub-
basin is less clear due to a paucity of wells. The limited data available
suggests the top of the Eumeralla Formation around the edge of the sub-
basin is immature for oil at present (Rv < 0.5%), increasing to early-mature
(Rv = 0.5 0.7%) in the centre.

188 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C42

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 189


> Figure C43 Maturation Top Waarre Formation

Vitrinite reflectance data for the top of the Waarre Formation indicates the
unit ranges from immature (Rv < 0.5%) to gas mature (Rv = 1.3 2.0%) in
the Victorian part of the Otway Basin. The limited data available suggests the
top of the Waarre Formation increases in maturity towards the southwest
except in the Shipwreck Trough area where it increases in maturity towards
the axis of the trough and northwards into the Port Campbell Embayment.
On the Mumbannar, Mussel and Prawn platforms, the Waarre Formation is
currently immature to early mature for oil and is unlikely to be generating
hydrocarbons at present. In the Voluta Trough, however, the top of the
Waarre Formation ranges from early mature to gas mature.

C
43

190 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C43

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 191


> Figure C44 Maturation Top Belfast Mudstone

The top of the Belfast Mudstone in the Victorian part of the Otway Basin
ranges from immature to early-mature for oil. The distribution of values
indicates the top of the unit generally increases in maturity offshore
towards the southwest.
The source rock potential of the Belfast Mudstone, however, is generally
regarded as poor (Edwards, 1997; Mehin & Link, 1997). While the organic
richness of the unit is fair to very good (range TOC 0.69 2.93%), its
potential yield is poor, with an average S1+S2 of 0.6 kg hydrocarbons/g TOC
(range 0.13 3.69 kg hydrocarbons/g TOC). The average HI of the unit is
also low (40 mg hydrocarbons/g TOC; range 10 268) indicating poor quality
Type III IV kerogens are present. These data suggest the Belfast Mudstone
was deposited under oxidising conditions and is gas prone.

C
44

192 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C44

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 193


> Figure C45 Reservoir rocks

The majority of the commercial hydrocarbon discoveries to date in the


Otway Basin have been found in just two units: the Pretty Hill Formation
and Waarre Formation.
The Pretty Hill Formation is the major play fairway in the South Australian
part of the basin where it is the reservoir for the Katnook, Ladbroke
Grove, Haselgrove and Haselgrove South gas fields. Katnook contains
40.5 BCF of GIP, which on production testing (Katnook-2) flowed at a rate
of 16.3 MMCFD and yielded 119 BBL of 52 API condensate (Morton &
Sansome, 1995). Ladbroke Grove contains 17.4 BCF GIP which on
production testing (Ladbroke Grove-1) flowed at rate of 4.6 MMCFD
(Morton & Sansome, 1995.
Porosity / permeability / depth cross plots for these fields show a very
broad regional trend of gradually decreasing reservoir quality with
increasing depth. The reservoir sandstones are mostly fine- to medium-
grained, moderately well-sorted feldspathic litharenites together with minor
subarkoses and sublitharenites. They occur at depths ranging from 2545m

45
(Ladbroke Grove) to 2852 m (Katnook-2). The litharenites and feldspathic
litharenites typically have average core plug porosity of approximately 14%
and permeabilities of 26 to 63 mD (Little & Phillips, 1995). The cleaner
subarkoses and sublitharenites, in contrast, have an average core plug

C porosity of approximately 18% and permeabilities ranging from 230 to 570


mD. Petrographic observations indicate reservoir quality is controlled by
mechanical compaction and mineralogy, both detrital and authigenic.
Authigenic minerals have both reduced and enhanced reservoir quality.
Chlorite rims, for example, have decreased the impact of mechanical
compaction and inhibited silicification. Pore filling cements of laumontite
and carbonate have occluded intergranular pores and replaced grains.
Secondary porosity in the gas zones has been enhanced by the dissolution
of laumontite by volcanic CO2 prior to hydrocarbon migration (Little &
Phillips, 1995).
In the Victorian part of the Otway Basin, the reservoir potential of the
Pretty Hill Formation is generally regarded as good to very good, with core
porosities ranging between 13.2 and 32.0% and permeabilities ranging
from 0.01 to 5093 mD. Petrographic observations (Constantine, 1997)
indicate the porosity is both primary and secondary in origin.
The Waarre Formation is the major regional play fairway in the Victorian
part of the Otway Basin where it is the reservoir for the onshore gas fields
in the Port Campbell Embayment area and the offshore gas discoveries in
the Shipwreck Trough. Onshore, Unit C is the gas reservoir, with an
average porosity of 16.9% (range 1.1 to 29.0%) and permeability of 2719
mD (range 0.01 to 24794 mD).

194 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C45

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 195


> Figure C46 Geohistory Lindon-1

Burial history studies (Duddy, 1994, 1997; Mehin & Link, 1997) indicate
the Otway Group in the Victorian part of the Otway Basin has a two stage
history of hydrocarbon generation consisting of an initial Early Cretaceous
phase of hydrocarbon expulsion followed by a smaller Tertiary expulsion
phase. The Early Cretaceous expulsion is associated with the first rift
event. Vitrinite reflectance data and fission track studies (Duddy, 1994,
1997; Mitchell, 1997) indicate the geothermal gradient in the basin during
this period was about 50 to 70C/km. This resulted in significant
hydrocarbon generation from the Casterton Formation and Crayfish
Subgroup towards the end of the Early Cretaceous while the Eumeralla
Formation remained largely unaffected (Mehin & Link, 1997).
During the Late Cretaceous, hydrocarbon expulsion from the Casterton
Formation and Crayfish Subgroup ceased when further rifting caused the
regional geothermal gradient to drop from 50 - 70C/km to 30 - 40C/km
(Duddy, 1994, 1997; Mitchell, 1997). Hydrocarbon generation did not
recommence until the Eumeralla Formation experienced burial
temperatures greater than those attained at the end of the Early

46
Cretaceous. Duddy (1997) and Mehin & Link (1997) believe this occurred
in the Tertiary with peak generation occurring in areas where the Otway
Group is overlain by about 2000 m of Late Cretaceous sediments and
1000 to 2000 m of Tertiary sediments (about 3000 4000 m combined
C thickness).
A good illustration of this two-stage expulsion history is Lindon-1 which
was drilled by Beach Petroleum NL in 1983 and bottomed in Pretty Hill
Formation at a depth of 3011 mKB. The well was designed to test the
base Tertiary Pebble Point Formation and base Late Cretaceous Waarre
Formation within a NW-SE striking horst block south of the Lake Condah
High. A 3 metre thick oil column was encountered in the Pebble Point
Formation but no hydrocarbons were detected in the Waarre Formation.
The well was eventually plugged and abandoned after two DSTs proved
the Pebble Point Formation to be significantly tighter than expected.
Vitrinite reflectance data (Duddy, 1994, 1997; Mehin & Link, 1996, 1997)
indicates the section intersected in this well is at, or is close to, maximum
temperature at the present day. The presence of P. pannosus Zone (Late
Albian) sediments beneath the mid-Cretaceous unconformity indicates little
or no erosion of the Eumeralla Formation occurred in this well prior to the
deposition of the Waarre Formation.
As can be seen from the explusion plot, the bulk of the hydrocarbons
(mostly oil) would have been generated towards the end of the Early
Cretaceous from the Pretty Hill Formation. Further expulsion from the
same unit occurred during the Early- to Mid-Tertiary. This event is the
source of the oil in the overlying Pebble Point Formation.
Methylphenanthrene Index (MPI) data indicates it was generated from
source rocks with a calculated Rv (MPI) of 1.1 to 1.2% (Tupper et al.,
1993). This is consistent with derivation from the Pretty Hill Formation
which has a Rv of 0.81 to 0.87% in Lindon-1.

196 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C46

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 197


> Figure C47 Geohistory Minerva-1

Minerva-1 was drilled by BHP Petroleum in 1993 to test a Waarre


Formation closure associated with a tilted fault block on the eastern margin
of the Shipwreck Trough (See Figure C36). It spudded in 57 m of water
and reached a total depth of 2425 mKB. Wireline logs and RFT data
indicated the presence of two hydrocarbon-bearing sandstones (10 and 15
m gross) in the upper part of the Flaxman Formation and a gross gas
column of 133 m in the Waarre Formation. RFT data indicate that the
accumulations are likely to be in pressure communication, most likely via
faults. A test of the Waarre Formation reservoir flowed gas at a (tubing
restricted) rate of 28.8 MMCFD. The gas comprises mainly methane with
a small amounts of 1.9 mol% CO2, 1.0 mol% nitrogen and minor
condensate (0.8-1.6 BBL/MCF).
The stratigraphic sequence penetrated in Minerva-1A comprises 702 m of
Tertiary, 1509 m of Sherbrook Group and 132 m of Otway Group.
Geohistory modelling (Mehin & Link, 1997) indicates the oil window occurs
between 2174 - 3075 mKB and the wet gas window from 3059 - 3879 mKB.
Subsidence at Minerva-1A averaged 42 m/Ma until 90 Ma. A rapid

47
subsidence of 60 m/Ma then followed lasting the next 12 Ma, after which
subsidence was generally uniform from 75 Ma until present at about 8 m/Ma.
Two source intervals were modelled: 1) the Pretty Hill Formation, and 2)

C Eumeralla Formation. According to their calculations, initial expulsion from


the Pretty Hill Formation commenced about 100 Ma and peaked between
95 to 85 Ma. Expulsion of oil and gas was about 40 BBL/m2 and around
139 BBL equiv/m2 of source rock respectively. Expulsion from the basal
Eumeralla Formation was around 124 BBL equiv/m2 and peaked between
30 and 0 Ma. This suggests the gas in the Minerva Field was probably
derived from the Eumeralla Formation during the Oligocene to Recent.

198 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C47

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 199


> Figure C48 The Moyston Fault Shipwreck Trough

The relationship between the Shipwreck Trough and Moyston Fault is


illustrated in Figure C48 which combines the first vertical derivative of the
Bouguer gravity onshore with the offshore Top Eumeralla Formation TWT
structure map.
The first vertical derivative of the Bouguer gravity has been used to
highlight short wavelength density changes (white = high, black = low).
One significant feature on the image is the Moyston Fault. This is a major
N-trending basement fault that separates deformed Neoproterozoic to
Cambrian sediments and igneous rocks of the Delamerian Fold Belt from
deformed Early Cambrian to Early Carboniferous rocks of the Lachlan Fold
Belt to the east. The fault shows up as a prominent N-trending linear to
the north of the basin in the middle of the image. It is one of several N-
trending linears (indicated by the large arrows on Figure C48) crosscutting
the basement to the north of the basin, and appears to extend southwards
under the basin towards Port Campbell (PC). A recent study by Moore (in
prep.) shows that offshore, north of the Bambra Fault, it probably
correlates with the western edge of the Shipwreck Trough. A splay from

48
the Moyston Fault passes under Minerva (M) and in the Cretaceous linked
with the Sorell Fault, just east of Geographe (G). Palynological data and
fission track studies indicate this eastern fault system was active during
the Mid-Cretaceous (Foster & Gleadow, 1992), with basement and
C sediments to the east experiencing up to 3 km of uplift and erosion
(Cooper & Hill, 1997; Duddy, 2000b).
PC Port Campbell gas fields
G Geographe Field
M Minerva Field
T Thylacine Field
L La Bella Field

200 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C48

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 201


> Figure C49 Subcrop - outcrop age of the Eumeralla Formation

The areal extent of the Mid-Cretaceous uplift event within the Otway Basin
is illustrated in Figure C49 which combines the first vertical derivative of
the onshore gravity with a colour overlay showing the spore-pollen age of
the top of the Eumeralla Formation in the subsurface and its outcrop age in
the Merino Uplift, Otway Ranges, Barongarook High and Barrabool Hills.
The palynology map is from Constantine (2001) and is based on 105 wells
and bores and more than 20 outcrop samples. Northern limit of the
Waarre Formation is shown for reference.
Eumeralla Formation spans four spore-pollen zones (from bottom to top):
P. notensis, C. striatus, C. paradoxa and P. pannosus. The P. notensis Zone
is Aptian (115 108 Ma) in age whereas the C. striatus, C. paradoxa and
P. pannosus Zones span the Albian (108 97.5 Ma). The thickness of these
zones in the basin is variable, but a good indication of their thickness can be
inferred from Ross Creek-1 on the eastern side of the Port Campbell
Embayment. In this well, the P. notensis, C. striatus, C. paradoxa and
P. pannosus zones are 822 m, 212 m, 1234 m and 80 m thick respectively.

49
The palynological data reveals the Otway Basin can be broadly divided into
two halves by the NNW-trending Yarramyljup Fault. East of the
Yarramyljup Fault, the top of the Eumeralla Formation in the subsurface
rapidly increases in age towards the northern margin of the basin over a

C distance of about 40 50 km from P. pannosus to P. notensis Zone.


This rapid increase in age, however, is not seen to the west of the
Yarramyljup Fault where the top of the Eumeralla Formation instead ranges
from P. pannosus to C. striatus Zone over a distance of about 70 km.
The eastern half of the basin can be further subdivided into two parts by
the N-S oriented Purrumbete Fault on the western side of the Stoneyford
High. West of the Purrumbete Fault, the top of the Eumeralla Formation
increases in age towards the NNE, whereas to the east it increases in age
towards the NW, orthogonal to the trend of the Otway Ranges. Moreover,
sediments of P. pannosus Zone age are rare to the east of the Purrumbete
Fault but common to the west.
Burial history data (Cooper & Hill, 1997) indicates the Otway Basin has
experienced three major uplift and erosion events during its history. The
first event occurred during the Mid-Cretaceous (95 Ma) and only affected
the Eumeralla Formation east of the Purrumbete Fault. Fission track and
vitrinite reflectance data indicate up to 3500 m of Eumeralla Formation was
stripped off in some wells (Olangolah-1, Hindhaugh Creek-1). The second
event occurred toward the end of the Late Cretaceous (80 70 Ma) and
affected the northern margin of the basin between the Yarramyljup and
Purrumbete faults. Up to 2000 m of Eumeralla Formation is interpreted to
be missing in this area. The third event occurred during the Late Miocene
Pliocene (post 15 Ma) and resulted in the formation of many of the
physiographic features we see today to the east of the Purrumbete fault
such as the Otway Ranges and Barrabool Hills. Up to 1200 m of section
is interpreted to have been stripped off the Otway Ranges during this
event, including about 600 m of Tertiary section.
G Geographe Field
M Minerva Field
T Thylacine Field
L La Bella Field

202 PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


Figure C49

PETROLEUM ATLAS OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 203


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