Northern Petroleum Enters Shale Prospective Play in Australia

Northern Petroleum Plc has won 100 percent interest in Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) 629 in in the Otway Basin, South Australia. The award is for five years and the company's first planned program will include geochemical analysis and seismic re-processing.

This prolific onshore play spans an area of 1.4 million acres and holds shale oil prospectivity in an area that has been lightly explored. However, a producing portion of the basin houses five gas fields that contain significant amounts of condensate, a Northern press release stated.

The Government of South Australia reported that only five stratigraphically deep exploration wells were drilled within the license and some 2,776 miles of 2D seismic data has been recorded, which Northern plans to study and record additional data.

Although the license is prospective for conventional oil and gas, Northern is focusing on the unconventional potential – specifically the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous Casterton and Sawpit formations.

"Northern's first steps into shale oil came through an increasing recognition of the high potential within its licenses in the West Netherlands Basin," said Managing Director of Northern Petroleum Derek Musgrove, in a released statement. "The company rapidly developed an understanding and some in-house expertise in the geological requisites for a good shale oil play."

"Australia was quickly identified and a local highly experienced consultant well known to the company was retained and the helpfulness of the South Australian state authorities a benefit," he added. "The Otway Basin is seen as particularly attractive for its existing infrastructure and possibilities for the rapid development of any discoveries."

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