Abstract

Theia Energy discovered a prospective unconventional hydrocarbon resource in the Ordovician Lower Goldwyer Shale (LGS) located on the Broome Platform of the onshore Canning Basin. The collation, processing, analysis and interpretation of all available regional data culminated in a successful exploration well, Theia-1 (drilled in 2015), which intersected a 230 ft gross oil column between 4,910–5,140 ft (based on slim-hole log and core analyses). Theia-1 recovered continuous core and wireline log data required to analyse and assess the geological properties necessary for a commercially viable shale oil and gas resource and quantify the volumes of hydrocarbons in-place. Petroleum system modelling carried out in the basin confirmed the prospectivity of the LGS and a potential additional mature hydrocarbon resource in the deeper Nambeet Formation some 2,000 ft below the LGS. The Nambeet is believed to exhibit higher maturity and extensive thickness reaching over 2,000 ft across a significant region of the Broome Platform. The Nambeet Formation adds substantial wet gas prospective resources in addition to those already discovered in the LGS.

This paper outlines Theia Energy's exploration strategy in the onshore Canning Basin utilizing shale specific play elements from which the early exploration program was designed and assessed following the drilling of Theia-1. Subsequent specialized testing of core and independent expert analysis have confirmed the reservoir quality, charge, completion quality and producibility of the LGS. In particular, proppant embedment and fracture conductivity tests indicate exceptional flow characteristics of the LGS.

The abundance of oil and gas prospective resources in the onshore Canning Basin is significant to the northwest region of Western Australia. The establishment of an unconventional petroleum resources industry would bring pivotal increased activity to its vacillating economy which is currently relying on mining, offshore petroleum development and tourism. Whilst the development and export of the resource would substantially add to economic opportunity for the region, the establishment of much-needed infrastructure would kickstart further economic opportunity such as: mining, downstream manufacturing including fertilisers, irrigated agriculture and cattle farming. Plans are under development for the implementation of major renewable energy projects in the region which can co-exist with an unconventional resource project.

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