New Drillhole Sheds Light on WA's Petroleum Potential

Assessing Western Australia's onshore petroleum potential has been made easier, following successful completion of a deep drill-hole in the State's remote Gibson Desert.

The 1,500 meter deep, fully cored Lancer-1 drill-hole, about 570 km northeast of Wiluna, was drilled by the Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA) to improve the understanding of the 500-900 million-year-old rocks in the northern part of the Officer Sedimentary Basin.

Geological Survey Executive Director Dr. Tim Griffin said the drill-hole has already revealed a wealth of geological information within the Basin.

"One discovery was an unusually thick lava flow that will help accurately date other rock formations in the Basin," Dr. Griffin said.

"Preliminary tests of core samples from 428.6 meters, and between 850 and 890 meters show what is possibly biodegraded bitumen," Dr Griffin said.

Dr Griffin said further laboratory tests on the core are planned to determine if traces of oil are present.

"The drill-hole may help define the areas where hydrocarbons are present in the Basin," Dr Griffin said.

"This improves the chances of finding hydrocarbon resources trapped elsewhere in greater quantities and attracting further exploration after a 20-year period of limited activity."

Data generated from the drill-hole will provide valuable information from which exploration companies can implement strategies to further assess the petroleum potential of the remote Officer Basin.

"The Lancer-1 drill-hole provides a valuable link between exposed rocks to the west along the Canning Stock Route in the Little Sandy Desert, and the rocks found in other deep drill-holes," Dr. Griffin said.

"This new information facilitates the interpretation of the available geophysical information to provide a better picture of the most likely locations to test for hydrocarbon resources between the Canning Stock Route and Warburton."