ExxonMobil is set to begin new exploration in the Gippsland Basin off the south-east coast of Australia, where together with its venture partner BHP, the company has extracted more than 8 trillion cubic feet of gas and 4 billion barrels of oil. The two companies drilled their first exploratory well in the province back in 1965.
The Gippsland Basin has been one of the country’s most prolific
hydrocarbon resources, but some fields are facing depletion and will likely be shut down in the coming decade. The province has recently contributed greatly to meeting the unprecedented demand for gas on Australia’s east coast, with production being well in excess of projected figures. The chairman of ExxonMobil Australia’s, Richard Owen, cautioned against expecting this level of production to be sustainable. He said:
“As a result, 2016 was our highest gas production year ever, supplying 19% of east coast demand. But accelerated extraction inevitably means accelerated decline, especially in an operation that’s already exceeded expectations.”
With a gas supply gap in sight, ExxonMobil, which also make industrial lubricants like Mobil Velocite 3, is looking for new sources of supply. It recently acquired a permit from Liberty Petroleum. A previous holder, Apache, had already drilled four exploration wells, none of which were commercially viable.
Despite the unpromising exploration results, ExxonMobil clearly believes there is a viable prospect, however. It says its geoscientists have reprocessed old 3D seismic data with newer algorithms on the company’s supercomputing capacity.