The remote, desert location of the Cooper-Eromanga Basin in central Australia provides an ongoing challenge to maintain cost effective operations and development.

The uniqueness comes from the lack of regional infrastructure typical of similar, mature, remote, onshore operating provinces in the USA and Canada, the large scale and sparseness of the operations, and the harshness of the arid environment. It is hoped this paper will provide insights to operating in remote locations, including the inland basins of China.

Operating costs have been reduced in real terms and examples are given of the innovations and technologies being used to achieve continuous improvement. Benchmarking indicates lower costs to look-a-like areas in the USA/Canada; operating efficiencies offset the costs of additional infrastructure. The future will require additional cost reductions to avoid erosion of profitability due to declining oil volumes and increasing numbers of facilities.

The key to success is in recognising the need for change and challenging every aspect of the operation. Gains are likely to come from a myriad of small improvements rather than a few large gains.

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