Esso Undertakes Frontier Technology Project in Australia

An innovative project to help improve the success rates of oil and gas exploration around the world is to be undertaken in Australia. Esso Australia Ltd. (a subsidiary of the Exxon Mobil Corporation), The University of Sydney, and Monash University are to collaborate to develop an "Atlas", that will allow geoscientists to visualize and better understand all components of a sedimentary basin as a single system and illustrate changes that occur over time in these basins.

The three-year Australian Research Council linkage project will develop the "Thermo-Mechanical Interactive Atlas of Basin Evolution". It will compliment the existing, basin analysis models currently used by the oil and gas industry. For the first time, geoscientists can put their years of practical experience working on hydrocarbon-rich basins into state-of-the-art computer models. They will be able to analyze how a basin evolved through time, predict where oil and gas may have formed and where it may now be trapped in the geological strata. The Atlas has the potential to help increase the chances of exploration success especially in 'frontier' areas, such as deepwater, where little or no drilling has previously occurred.

"This new technology will be of enormous benefit to our industry and will have global application. We have chosen to support this research in Australia as it is a recognized center of excellence in the field of geodynamics. Both the University of Sydney and Monash University boast some of the world's most respected experts in this field, said Australian Exploration Director Dr. Doug Schwebel.

"We have significant exploration activities in Australia including in several potentially prospective frontier areas. Our recent work in the deepwater Carnarvon Basin off northwest Western Australia led to the discovery of 'Jansz', the nation's largest ever gas discovery. We believe the results of this collaborative research project will further enhance our ability to be successful in frontier areas like the Carnarvon Basin," said Dr Schwebel.

"We recognise the challenges associated with exploration and production in deepwater and other frontiers and are committed to investing financial, people and research resources to develop technologies to assist us and the industry globally, to maximize exploration success. We have been encouraged by the Federal Government's support of the linkage project". Funding for the three-year project will be: ExxonMobil: $460,000; Australian Research Council: $474,000.