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Well Simulator

As part of the School's facilities, the University drilled a borehole for teaching and research just outside the western wall of the School building.

The well had to be drilled before construction of the building, to allow access for drilling rigs brought on to the site. The well was cored for its entire depth and fully logged to provide baseline data for experiments and teaching examples. Geoscience staff and students were also involved in the well project, monitoring the drilling operations, collecting labelled rock core samples and cataloging them for future study in the School.

Designed as a teaching aid, working equipment is installed on the wellhead to assist students and researchers in their studies in petroleum engineering techniques and well management.

The well is the first in an Australian university and one of only a few similar purpose-built teaching wells anywhere. The University of Texas (UTA) at Austin provided technical advice for its design. Home of one of the best-known petroleum engineering schools in the world, UTA has a teaching well in the basement of its school building. Additional advice for the well came from South Australia's Santos Ltd and leading international oilfield services company Schlumberger.

Total depth of the hole on completion was just over 150 metres - much shallower than normal oil and gas wells, but deep enough for demonstration and testing of drilling, well logging and production techniques. Relatively soft sedimentary rock and layers of clay, silt and sand were encountered down to about 60 metres, with harder metamorphic basement rock below that depth. Schlumberger brought a fully equipped well-logging truck to the site. Specialised high technology instruments were lowered down the hole to measure physical characteristics of the rock, such as porosity and density. The information will provide an understanding of subsurface as a base line for future student projects and researchers conducting experiments in the well.

A heavy PVC plastic pipe lining was cemented in the hole after drilling to prevent the possibility of contamination of groundwater, as required by State Government regulations. This plastic pipe encloses commercial oil well steel pipe to provide an industry-standard operating environment for experiments, equipment testing and practical demonstrations.

Australian School of Petroleum



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