ABSTRACT:

Australia" s perceived petroleum potential has changed considerably since offshore exploration began m 1964, moving from relatively humble beginnings to the monumentally complex 12 billion dollar North West Shelf gas, condensate and LNG project. The significant Bass Strait oil discoveries between 1964 and 1967 propelled Australia towards a goal of self-sufficiency However, while the Gippsland Basin is still the premier oil producing region in Australia, industry experts predict it will be depleted by the turn of the century. North Rankin Goodwyn, Angel and Scarborough gas-condensate fields, implanting the myth that the Shelf was gas-prone. This perception began to change with the mid- 1980" s discoveries of oil at Chervil and South Chervil, Harriet and Bambra, North Herald and South Pepper, Rosette, and Saladin, and the 1983 Jabiru oil discovery in the Timor Sea. More recently the myth has been totally dispelled by the 1989/90 discovery of over 300 million barrels of oil by Woodside" s Wanaea and Cossack wells and BHP" s Griffin 1. These recent discoveries represent a major turning point in Australia" s search for self-sufficiency. They are also likely to create a period of considerable euphoria in our exploration and production Industries A succession of engineering successes with commercial possibilities will accelerate the development of the Industrial base In Western Australia. After a brief flirtation with 100 percent self-sufficiency and against a background of rapidly depleting oil reserves in the Bass Strait, the petroleum Industry Is introducing new technology that rekindles the hope of realising Australian self-sufficiency and the potential to become a net hydrocarbon exporter Developing offshore fields Is a sizable undertaking often presenting enormous technical challenges. The design, construction and operation of offshore facilities In Australia must meet stringent government standards to ensure structural integrity, protection of the enVlronment and most Importantly. the safety of the workforce.

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