Page 773
Previous/Next Page
Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 11

I The Present Energy Economy

II Australian Energy Consumption

III Research And Development

IV Coal

V Oil And Natural Gas
i Background to discovery
ii Discovery in Bass Strait
iii North West Shelf
iv Onshore
v Innovation and incidents

VI Solar Energy

VII Nuclear Energy

VIII Bagasse Firewood And Other Biomass

IX Electric Power Generation And Distribution electric Power Generation And Distribution

X Manufactured Gas

XI Industrial Process Heat



Contact us

North West Shelf

The discoveries in Gippsland were the climax to a fruitful few years for the Australian oil searchers spread over the whole continent. Australia's first commercial oil field, Moonie in south central Queensland, was found at the end of 1961. The Union Oil-Kern County-Australian Oil and Gas Corporation consortium had oil flowing along the pipeline to Brisbane by May 1964. Moonie and its surrounding fields met 2 per cent of Australia's crude oil needs. A month after the Moonie field was flowing, Wapet found promising oil at Barrow Island WA offshore from the old Rough Range site. Wapet declared it a commercial oil field, with recoverable reserves of 85 million barrels, in May 1966. Production started at Barrow Island in April 1967. The estimated reserves were increased to 250 million barrels, with further exploration and experience of production.

Woodside and its new partners, Shell and Burmah Oil of UK began drilling on the North West Shelf in June 1968 and Wapet moved out to the waters south of Barrow Island the following year. By 1978 two further consortia were drilling on the North West Shelf and there had been an unsuccessful drilling program on the north eastern margin in 1967-68.

ESSO/BHP drilled 8 joint wells on the Exmouth Plateau in 1979-80. Drilling in water depths of up to 1375 metres on Exmouth Plateau required new generation anchorless drillships which are kept in position by dynamic stationing with a number of propellers and sophisticated controls. ESSO/BHP costs per well were $5-18 million. Some very big gas fields were found on the North West Shelf in the 1970s but very little oil. One gas field was discovered on Exmouth Plateau in 950 metres of water.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Shell Co. of Australia; Wapet (West Australian Petroleum Pty Ltd); Woodside Petroleum Limited

Previous Page Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering Next Page

© 1988 Print Edition page 800, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher