Skip to content

Palaeotectonic Reconstruction And Evolution Of Petroleum Systems At The Copernicus Basin Margin, Northeastern Browse Basin, Australia.

Baldasso, Fortunato

Honours Degree, 1993

University of Adelaide


Australia's North West Shelf is attracting exploration attention due to numerous oil and gas discoveries and will soon become the area of greatest petroleum production in the country. The exception to this trend is in the Browse Basin where to date several gas discoveries have been made, but no economic oil has been found.

The AC/P3 permit in the Ashmore and Cartier Islands Territory of the Timor Sea is unique, as it straddles and incorporates characteristics of both the Vulcan Graben which has several significant oil fields and (to date) the oil barren Browse Basin.

The aim of this study is to reconstruct a margin area in the northeastern Browse Basin investigating implications to the petroleum system and margin evolution. Parameters are based on basic geological concepts and thermal maturation development using various petroleum industry methods.

The Lower Vulcan Formation source rock became mature in the Aptian to Campanian with peak maturity occurring in the Campanian. Migration of expelled hydrocarbons occurred almost entirely intraformationally. Maximum migration occurred in the Campanian. Likely porosities which will be encountered range from 15 to 20%. The modelled results suggest that with the TOC values used and the different petroleum kinetic models it is most likely that the area is gas prone with minor oil. The Lower Vulcan Formation is modelled as having expelled up to 12,300 Mbbl, however the most likely volume of expelled hydrocarbons is between 110 and 600 Mbbl. Of this volume, between 23 and 48 Mbbl is the modelled maximum volume likely to be trapped in the Copernicus Basin Margin.

Australian School of Petroleum



T: +61 8 8313 8000
F: +61 8 8313 8030