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This paper is to be presented at the 32nd AIME Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas, February 24–28, 1963, and is considered the property of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Permission to publish is hereby restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words, with no illustrations, unless the paper is specifically released to the press by the Editor of the Journal of Petroleum Technology or the Executive Secretary. Such abstract should contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper is presented. Publication elsewhere after publication in Journal of Petroleum Technology or Society of Petroleum Engineers Journal is granted on request, providing proper credit is given that publication and the original presentation of the paper.

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Exploration for oil and gas started in 1899 when gas in substantial volumes was encountered in a water well near Roma in Queensland. At the time of the Moonie discovery in Dec., 1961, some $100,000,000 had been expended in the search wit rather meager results. In this paper a brief summary of previous exploration in Australia is given, together with an outline of the political and social environment. The Moonie Field, which appears to be Australia's first commercial oil field, and the exploration operations leading to its discovery are described.


The name Australia is applied both to a continent and to a nation. The two are not identical since the Island of Tasmania, south of the continent, is one of the states of the Commonwealth, and the Territory of Papua in Eastern New Guinea, to the north, is also part of the Australian nation. The continent is approximately the same size as the continental United States, excluding Alaska, as indicated in Fig. 1, but the population of Australia is only ten million as compared with our 180 million.

There are many similarities between Australia and the U.S. as we like to think of it. Australia is still in some degree a frontier country, and the people have many of the attitudes that are developed in a nation where open land is available at low cost. Australians are probably the friendliest and most hospitable people on earth. They also seem to possess an unfailing sense of humor and, possibly for this reason, they are a highly practical people who believe in getting what they want, even though they are told by theorists that it is bad for them.

While they still have strong sentimental and economic ties with Great Britain, Australians also seem very friendly to the U. S. and Americans. This friendship for Americans is partly the result of the similarity in outlook, but an even more important factor is a feeling of gratitude for our help during the war. One of the tallest structures in Canberra, the capital of Australia, is a monument to the U. S. as an expression of this sentiment. I do not need to emphasize that gratitude in international affairs is an extremely rare phenomenon today.

In form, the government of Australia is somewhat similar to that of the U.S. It is a federation of six states with a written constitution in which the powers not granted to the Commonwealth are reserved to the States. This is quite different from the situation, for instance, in Canada where the powers not granted to the Provinces are reserved to the Federal Government. Despite the resemblance to the U.S., however, the Australian parliamentary system is substantially the same as the British.

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