2.2 Gas resources

The Cooper GBA region is defined by the surface projection of the outline of the Cooper Basin geological province. Oil and gas resources were discovered in the region in 1963 and both the Cooper and overlying Eromanga geological basins have been producing conventional oil and gas for over 50 years. GBA baseline studies identified areas of higher relative prospectivity for unconventional shale, tight and deep coal gas plays that include the Nappamerri, Patchawarra, Windorah, Allunga and Wooloo troughs (Figure 4), which is consistent with the location of recent exploration activity (petroleum prospectivity technical appendix (Lech et al., 2020)).

The active exploration for and development of both conventional and unconventional gas resources in the Cooper Basin and overlying Eromanga Basin continues today. Most of the region is covered by exploration permits, retention licences and production licences. To date, over 3,000 petroleum wells have been drilled and more than 81,000 line km of two-dimensional seismic data and 10,000 km2 of three-dimensional seismic data have been acquired (Section 2.2 in baseline synthesis and gap analysis (Holland et al., 2020); petroleum prospectivity technical appendix (Lech et al., 2020)).

While the development of shale, tight and deep coal gas resources is an emerging industry in Australia, the existing legislation, regulations, approval conditions and industry practices reflect more than 50 years of conventional oil and gas production in the Cooper Basin. The industry is regulated at federal, state and local levels to ensure that industry development is sustainable and responsible and minimises impacts on water resources, biodiversity, social and human capital, and other non-renewable natural resources such as air quality.

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