Conventional oil and gas
Conventional petroleum resources are oil and gas found in sandstone that can be extracted using traditional methods, and with few wells for each basin. The oil and gas resources are usually from another formation but move into the sandstone and are trapped by an impermeable ‘cap’ rock. Conventional petroleum resources are extracted using traditional methods of drilling down through the ‘cap’ rock and allowing petroleum to flow up the well.
The resources that can be extracted from conventional petroleum reserves include crude oil, condensate and natural gas. The products that can be refined include liquefied petroleum gas, fuel oils, petrol, diesel, kerosene, asphalt base and others.
In Queensland, conventional petroleum reserves can be found in the Cooper and Eromanga Basins, Bowen and Surat Basins, and the Adavale Basin.
Conventional vs. unconventional
Unconventional petroleum resources are oil and gas found in a variety of rocks that need to be extracted using additional technology, energy or investment to release the resource from the source rock. Unconventional resource development usually requires extensive well fields and more surface infrastructure. Key features of unconventional petroleum formations are low permeability and low porosity.
Some examples of unconventional resources include coal seam gas (CSG), tight gas, shale gas and shale oil. These resources can be found in Queensland but many are only now attracting exploration interest.
Both conventional and unconventional petroleum activities are regulated under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and an environmental authority is required before any petroleum activity can begin. The environmental authority imposes conditions to reduce or avoid potential environmental impacts associated with the petroleum industry. For more information on the legislative requirements associated with petroleum activities see the following pages:
Environmental considerations include:
- groundwater impacts and aquifer interconnectivity from hydraulic fracturing
- impacts to land from production activities and accidental spills
- environmental nuisance from noise, dust, light and odour.
- Australian Government: Geoscience Australia
- Australian Government: Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation
- Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association website
- Queensland Government: Petroleum and coal seam gas
- Queensland Government: Coal Seam Gas and Liquefied Natural Gas Industry website